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Originating in Bäretswil, Switzerland, the Groff family (also Grove), originally spelled Graff, became during the early eighteenth century one of the founding families of both the United States and what was later to become Canada.
The family, known in the Swiss area since the middle of the 16th century. The migrated from Switzerland to the area around Sinsheim, Germany around 1651. In 1695 Hans Graff migrated to Pennsylvania. Hans Graff and his family were Mennonites and many of his descendants stayed in the Mennonite faith. Hans Graff bought 1,500 acres in Groffdale, West Earl Township, Lancaster County. The name Groffdale comes from Graff's family name. The Groffdale Conference Mennonite Church is the largest Old Order Mennonite group, with about 10,000 members in 2008/9.
The Groff family has largely remained an East Coast family found both on the United States and Canadian sides of the border. In the United States the Groff family is most commonly found in southeastern Pennsylvania. In Canada, the Groff family is best known in the area around Markham, Ontario.
Hans Graff (1661–1746) founder of Earl Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was the uncle of the father of Jacob Groff. He is believed[by whom?] to be the oldest known member of the Groff family in North America and the holder of the title Baron von Welden of Grafenwald Castle near Bäretswil, Switzerland.
Other family members:
- Jacob Groff (1751–1824), was a prominent Pennsylvania American Revolutionary War soldier of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Connections to other prominent families
de Beauvoir / Beaver family connections
Eisenhower family connections
Hans Peter Isenhower (1716–1795) married Elizabeth Graf (granddaughter of Michael Groff) in 1770.
- Harris, Alex. A Biographical History of Lancaster County" (1872). pp. 237–239.
- Groff, Hans (1661-1746) at Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
- Donald B. Kraybill (2010). Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hurtterites and Mennonites. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 258.