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Our 2,732 members have registered
2,390 study surnames with us
and a further 6,077 variant names.

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About the study

In January 2014 I received a large trove of SKAIFE materials from a cousin who wanted to ensure the survivability of her years of genealogical research into our mutual SKAIFE ancestors. As a member of the Guild of One Name Studies I searched our 8,000 name database and found that the SKAIFE surname was not yet registered and hence no one to whom I could turn over the materials. I decided that (1) I did not want to lose this wonderful SKAIFE data and (2) I wanted to make it available to all, worldwide, 24/7. This One-Name Study (ONS) ensued.

Variant names

Since the early 1200's in England there are been two main variants - SCAIFE and SKAIFE and many, many different spellings depending upon the transcriber or enumerator. There are many more SCAIFEs than SKAIFEs in both the United Kingdom and America. For purposes of this One-Name Study we are focusing exclusively upon the less common SKAIFE.

Name origin

I have not explored the origin of the surname SKAIFE. Fortunately, someone else has! A very impressive UK-based website with a number of scholarly articles is found at Scaife Study Group. While heavily weighted towards the SCAIFE surname the site and its parent Scaife Study Group also include some SKAIFE data. One must join and receive log-in credentials to see most of the content.

Historical occurrences of the name

Chris Skaife (abt1968- ) is a former soldier in the Royal Army and now serves as a Yeoman Warder or Beefeater. He is the current Ravenmaster at the Tower of London.

Mark Skaife (1967- ) is a noted Australian motor racing driver. He is a five-time winner of the V8 Supercar Championship and six-time winner of the Bathurst 1000.

Sydney Harold Skaife (1889-1976) was an eminent South African entomologist and naturalist. He lived most of his life in Hout Bay on the Cape Peninsula.

Thomas Skaife (1806-1876) was a British inventor most famous for his pistol-shaped camera design. He operated a photographic studio (Skaife's Pistolgraph Depot) near Regent's Park in London, England.

Name frequency

The electronically published records for the 1880 U. S. Federal Census of three major Census transcribing companies were examined; the records for SKAIFEs were counted as well as (for informative purposes) SCAIFEs. Results are tabulated below:

1880 U. S. Fed. Census results for SKAIFE individuals *exact spelling*

1880 U. S. Fed. Census results for SCAIFE individuals *exact spelling*!
New Jersey|ditto|2|ditto|2|ditto|2|
New York|ditto|8|ditto|8|ditto|8|
South Carolina|ditto|37|ditto|30|ditto|30|

Some conclusions:
SKAIFEs were mainly in the Mid-West and on the West Coast
SCAIFEs were mainly in Arkansas, in the South and on the East Coast
There were over five-times as many SCAIFEs enumerated in 1880 in the USA as there were SKAIFEs


There is not just one SKAIFE DNA Project. As of mid-February 2014 separately administered projects (under the surname SCAIFE) exist at: - using FamilyTree DNA laboratory - using an unknown laboratory


This is a public site open to all. No login or password is required except to see details of living people of which there are only a handful. 

Electronic 'notebooks' have been created to house digitized (scanned) copies of the large amount of SKAIFE material originally and subsequently received. It is not necessary to create an account or log-in to Evernote to view the following (just choose the 'view' option):

Vital Records BMD

Newspaper Clippings



Family Group Sheets (now superseded by the Skaife ONS website)