My Great Grandfather Adam Naf, 16th Century Hero and Swordsman


First, let me say thanks to a blog follower named Tim who asked me some questions about the Naff family and, as a result, I ended up re-reading my mother‘s genealogy book entitled, A Genealogy of the Ancestors and Descendants of Jacob Naff Sr. and Marvin Edward Naff of Virginia by Betty Naff Mitchell,

It turns out that my great grandfather Adam Näf fought in the battle of Kappel with great distinction.  Here’s the story, courtesy of the Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy page:

“The Forest troops were pressed back but about five in the evening the tide of battle turned…the standard bearer  [John Schweizer] refused to give way. The battle became very fierce around the standard bearer but he would not yield ground…He was forced into the stream and the weight of his armor bore him down and he was drowned. Kleinsbaus Kambli rescued the banner. As he seized the banner he was rushed by a number of the enemy. He cried out, “Is there no honorable Zuricher here to save his army’s banner?”  Adam Näf of Vollenweid responded to the cry. Adam was an axguard who under Hans Huber of Tufenbach had come to defend Zürich. His father and two brothers were also in the battle as well as two sons. Adam Näf attacked with his broad sword and cut off the head of the man who had seized the banner. Kambli was again able to hold the banner high and retreat in an orderly fashion. In the retreat there were 512 soldiers left behind including Adam’s father, Hans, and his two brothers… On November 15-16, ambassadors from both sides met to arrange terms of a peace and on the 20th the treaty was ratified.”

Betty Mitchell — August 2nd 1937 ~ January 13th 2016

Näfenhaus still stands, now the property of the the Naefenstiftung, a charitable organization that helps poor members of the Naff family and arranges holiday celebrations at the house.

Thanks Mom, for writing your incredible book book for me and the family.  I’m so proud of you and of my heritage.


9 responses to “My Great Grandfather Adam Naf, 16th Century Hero and Swordsman

  1. William Otis Naff

    I am descendent of Benjamin Barnhardt Naff, my great grandfather,who came to Washington State by covered wagon in 1800’s who settled near, Colville WA and celebrated 50 years of marriage there; had several children, including my Grandfather, Otis Naff, killed in mail train accident in Spokane, WA, leaving his wife Ethyl Andrus Naff, and my Dad, Robert Burns Naff, Sr. Who married
    Ferol G.Weber, my mom, who had 7 children… Robert B. Naff Jr., Margaret Ann Naff, Karen Kay Naff, Janet Ferol Naff, William Otis Naff, Pamela Gaye Naff, And Thomas Arnold Naff.. in order of birth… all born in Alaska, except the youngest, Tom, born in El Paso, Texas.
    At this writing 2 of these siblings, Karen and Pam, have passed away. All three Naff sons of Robert B. Naff Sr. Have sons; Brian Naff, son of Robert B. Naff Jr. (aka “Bud”) William Joseph Naff, my son, and Brandon and Ian Naff, sons of Tom Naff. So we have a long history traceable back to 1356…Let the Naff’s continue to prosper!

    • Robert Mitchell

      Well howdy William, thanks for stopping by! I didn’t check — is Benjamin B. Naff related to the Naffs in my line? Are distant cousins?

      • I’m sure we are related.

      • Robert Mitchell

        Well then, good to meet you cousin Otis! Thanks for stopping by!

      • Yes! I’ve traced out family lineage back to Adam Naf! Some Naff decedents settled in Virginia, some moved to Tennessee. I have the book of Naf ancestry. Very. Oil to see where our ancestors came from!

  2. Hi Robert,

    I am a direct descendant of Rudolf Neff (great-great-great grandson of Adam, if I counted my greats correctly!). His side of the family is located up in Philly, as well as Ohio and Kentucky! I stumbled upon this post due to my research on Adam Naf for my school history essay! Thank you and your mother so much for this research!

  3. This is so awesome to be able to find people in my family history and find people I am related to and meet other people from out family history and just relate to them… if you find out we are related and want to connect you can look me up from my name in Facebook and my name since I’ve been married is Adriaunna Fineout and my email is

  4. Hey, I’m a direct relative of Adam, I’m his 12th Great-Grandson. Contact me at if you’re related to me!

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