This family of Welsh origin (meaning son of David) came to Ireland shortly after the Anglo-Norman Invasion of 1169, and soon became one of the most influential in the country. The original name Taaffe was Galicized as Tath (pronounced 'Taa' and spelt thus according to some!) Sir Nicholas Taaffe was the ancestor of most of the Taaffe lines. Many of his descendants were sheriffs of Laith in the Province of Leinster in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Taaffe. which was dated 1315 Dublin, Ireland. during the reign of King Edward 11 Edward of Caernafon 1307-1327. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.