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About us

Our FamilyTree y-DNA  NEFF - NAVE - NAFF Surname Project began in 2007 to determine the origins and relationships of the NEFF etc. families in who immigrated from Europe to the British Colonies beginning in 1634.  Most of the Neff - Nave - Naff families who arrived in the 18th century are of the same family from Kt. Zurich, Switzerland and immigrated to the Colony of Pennsylvania.  We can trace using DNA many early family descendants who migrated to Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, and Canada before 1800.  The project has now expanded to include all of North America.  We hope all male Neff - Nave - Naffs will consider joining our project and help with the brick walls many of us have encountered. 

                                                             PLEASE  READ  BEFORE  MAKING YOUR REQUEST TO  JOIN

Our FamilyTree y-DNA project tracks ONLY male Neff - Nave - Naff - Neef members. The are a few other variations.  The participant's test  swab must be collected from a male with one the above surnames.  If you wish to participate with an mtDNA test, your results will be displayed, but not include within our family groupings.

    Participants in the NEFF - NAVE - NAFF Surname Y-DNA project must be males named as shown who had a father, a grandfather and gr-grandfather who carries one of the 3 surname spellings.   It must be an unbroken male descent from a listed surname prior to 1900. Paper  records should be combined with y-DNA testing in trying to prove (or disprove) a connection between two males with the same or similar surname.  This paper trail helps to establish that the participating male is from an unbroken male direct line.  The identity of the "family line" is only as good as the paperwork of all participants.  DNA is not a substitute for doing "genealogy" the old fashioned way -- corroborating each and every generation with good sources, connecting all the dots.
                  " For privacy reasons we don't publicly post any data after 1910 without the express permission of the tested person or kit owner."

NOTE: The belief that two participants with exact 12-marker matches are closely related is NO longer supported.  Our Project does not display members who have tested at only 12 markers.  It is recommended that at a MINIMUM, the y-DNA-37-marker test be ordered for a minimum degree of matching and the y-67 DNA or y-DNA-111 test is Highly RECOMMENDED.

We also ask each participant post his known pedigree (family tree) on his kit's ‘dashboard“ so his matches may be compared to other DNA test results.  Names of anyone still living are automatically privatized.  You will find in certain families that the surname NAVE may be later rewritten to NEFF in later generations as with NAFF becoming NEFF.

We have a VERY large NEFF - NAVE - NAFF database, approx 42,000+ records, which includes our families is Switzerland, Germany, the US and Canada.  Contact us as these records are not in the public domain.  Your  y-DNA test may show your family groups of Neff’s etc back to before surnames. It might even show that your forebear weren't Neffs ect, but another surname used today.

                                                                                                         NON-PATERNAL EVENTS

Often we think of an event in a hayloft which results in a child born out of wedlock.  We have only one (1) such event before 1900 that is confirmed by a court case.  In our early Mennonite families, we have several examples of someone carrying the NEFF surname and DNA proves otherwise.  Not uncommon would be when a husband is killed leaving a newly wed young wife and child.  She remarries and assumes the family name of her new husband.  The child/children also are then given the new family name.
Wars are another example.  Common occurrence during our Civil War [War Between the States].  Three orphanages were established by the State of PA to care for orphaned children.  The names and locations were published by the PA States Archives and there are some 10 or 12 Neffs listed.  Disposition of the children following the War was not given.  Same during our WW1 and WW2.  These events were seldom discussed among family members.

                                                                              What’s My Neff - Nave - Naff Line

                                             We adopted the Henry Numbering systems developed by a genealogist with the US Library of Congress.
                                                  The letter identifies the immigrant.  The further numbers identify the individual’s order in his family.

[CH1] ..... NAEF, current resident of Switzerland, Kt. Zürich, Kappel am Albis.
Professional genealogist and staff at the Staatsarchiv des Kantons Zürich research.
Family traced to Hausen am Albis, Kt. Zürich 1523, hof  at "Vollenweid;" Heni Näf, 1385 Kt. Zurich, Thalwil.

[T] line William NEFF, -Arr. c. 1640, Haverhill (Boston), MA, Only Neff line with ships captains.  New England, New York,
     Great Lakes Region and Canada.
A1] line  Dr. Francis NEFF -Arr. 1719 Phila., Germantown.  By 1729 the family had moved to Lancaster Co., PA.  Descendants migrated to Canada in the 1790's.  Mormon migration 1846 to SLC
[A2] line  Dr. Hans Heinrich NEFF -Arr: 1717 Phila., Settled in Chester Co., PA now E. Side of Lancaster Co., PA, Conestoga Twp.,  Mennonite
         Note:  A1 & A2 were NOT brothers

[B] line  Henry NEFF -Arr: Phila., 1717, Settled N. of Germantown in Phila. Co., PA, Whitemarsh Twp;  1722 moved to Lancaster Co., PA Manor   Twp.       Mennonite
[C] line  Michael NEFF  - Arr. Phila.. 1728 aboard ship “James Goodwill,” settled Lancaster (Lebanon) Co., PA Heidelberg Twp., descendants migrated to MD, Wythe Co., VA, OH.
   ONLY Lutheran Neff line.
[D] line  Jacob NEFF -Arr.1717 Phila, Chester Co., PA, migrated to now  York Co., by 1742 to Frederick Co., MD,  Mennonite

[E1] line  Jacob NAFF - Arr. Est. 1740-1750, Phila, migrated to Cumberland Co., PA now Franklin Co., PA, then to Franklin Co., VA., Boones Mill,
  Church of the Brethren, Early member of the Conestoga Cong., PA.
[E2] line  Sebastian Neff - Arr. Phila, 1744 Germantown, PA, 1768 Berks Co., PA,.  Lutheran.  Joined the Church of the Brethren abt. 1770; moved to MD then Franklin Co., VA  
,  Boones Mill, (Old W-line).

[F] line  Christian Neff - Arr. Phila,  PA 1743 Ship "Lydia" settled Lancaster Co., PA, Mennonite.
[G] line  Jacob Näf, Arr. Phila, PA 1735 Ship “Mercury,” from Kt. Zürich, settled York Co., PA, Reformed Church.

[H1] line  Rudolph Neff, Arr. Phila, PA 1749 Ship “Priscilla” from Kt. Zürich, Zell, settled at Phila Co., PA, Frankford, Reformed Church.
[H2] line  Jacob Neff  Arr. Phila, PA 1749 Ship “Priscilla” from Kt. Zürich, Zell, settled at Phila Co., PA, Oxford, Reformed Church.
[H3] old [M] lineHans Ulrich Neff, Arr. Phila, PA 1739/0 Ship  “Jamaica Galley,” Son Bernard Neff arr. Phila, PA 1752 aboard ship “Phoenix”  Settled first in Phila Co., PA, family members migrated to
[H31] Bernard Neff, son, arr. Phila, PA 1752 Ship “Phoenix.”  Settled first in Phila Co., PA, family members migrated to Northampton Co.[now Lehigh Co., PA],  Reformed Church.

Note: This Swiss families name spelled NAEF.  [H1], [H2], [H3], [H31] lines descend from a Joachim Naef (c.1578-1654)  Switzerland, Kt. St. Gallen, Flawil.  1634, migrated to Kt. Zürich, Zell near Winterthur.  DNA does NOT match the Näfs found in Kt. Zürich;

[P] line  Ulrich, Jacob & Heinrich Neff arr. Phila, PA 1743 aboard ship  “Francis & Elizabeth” from Kt. Zürich, Wallesellen (Kloten).  Settled York Co., PA, Reformed Church 
[S] line  Konrad Näf (Naef), died at sea, children and wife arr. Phila, PA 1743 aboard the “Francis & Elizabeth” from Kt. Zürich, Wallesellen (Kloten).
    Children settled in DE and MD.  Reformed Church.
[U] line  Oswalt Neff Arr:  Phila, PA 1743 Phila. aboard the “Robert & Alice” Settled Lancaster Co., PA, No known male issue.  Mennonite
[W] line  Sebastian Neff  Arr. Phila, PA 1744, Inkeeper at Germantown, PA  Lutheran
[Y]  Rev. Henry Neff of Codorus Twp., York Co., PA  Brethren Minister
[KY] line  John Neff & Rachel Easton of Harrision Co., KY
Updated 3 Feb 2019
                                                                                                                              1800 arrivals
Edit in progress  30 Jan 2019

[AA] line  Margaret James & Remington\English line, Mohringen, Germany  arr. 1817/18

[AB]  Johannes <John> Neff arr 1851 New Orleans from Frankenthal, Bavaria, Germany

[AC] line  Peter Neff from Assenheim, GR, Mennonite arr 1840/1845

[AD] line  Elisa Naef from Buchenegg, Kt. Zürich, arr 1874,  Mormon

[AE] line  Family of John Peter Neff from Gadernheim, Starkenburg, Hesse-Darmstadt
    - Immigrated to Crawford Co., OH

[AF] line  Augustus Neff - Cleveland Catholic Neff's, arr
[AG] line  George Frederick Neff from Illingen, Germany arr 1832

[AH] line  Butler Co., PA Catholic Neff's from onchberg, Bavaria  arr: 1845,
   Franz Michael Neff,  Ignatz Josef Neff
[AJ] line  Johann Friedrich Neff from Degerloch, nr. Stuttgard, Württemberg, Germany.
    Lutheran -  Son Frederick stayed in Lancaster and appears to have married and become Mennonite. - Arrived abt. 1820, family settled in Erie Co., PA.

[AK] line  Jacob Neff md Maria Weber Arr. 1818 to Westmoreland Co., PA.

[AM] Line  Francois Michel Neff of Louisiana [DNA matches Goddard family]

[AN] line  <John> Martin Neff, from France, immigrated 1840-42 to MA, moved to Lorain Co., OH by 1844, Catholic.

NOTE: Not withstanding any language represented by third parties to the contrary, the information herein presented as the "Neff Base y-DNA Signature Project" is the intellectual property of the Neff Family Historical Society Inc., a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Neff Base DNA Signature Project and its results are protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America and the European Union. For information on obtaining use of the ongoing results of this project, contact the Neff Family Historical Society at Furthermore, there is no warranty expressed or implied that the information presented in this study now and in the future can be used to establish with absolute certainty the paternal linage of an individual Neff etc. family member.