I have been told that it is pronounced "Talifer" in the South. Taliaferro, GA is named after Benjamin Taliaferro....submitted by Joyce A. Finley
Taliaferro (pron.: /ˈtɒlɪvər/ TOL-i-vər), also spelled Talifero,Tellifero Tolliver, or Toliver, is a prominent family in the United States Commonwealth of Virginia. The Taliaferros (originally Tagliaferro, Italian pronunciation: [ˌtaʎʎaˈfɛrro], which means "ironcutter" in Italian) are one of the early families who settled in Virginia in the 17th century. They migrated from London, where an ancestor had served as a musician in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. The surname in that line is believed to trace back to Bartholomew Taliaferro, a native of Venice who settled in London and was made a denizen in 1562.
A legend exists about the name having originated in Roman times in what was called Cisalpine Gaul, which leads many bearers of the name to believe that their ancestors were actually French, not Italian, since Gaul is generally known to be the ancient name for today's France; however, Gaul was a term applied to a very wide region that also comprised the whole of northern Italy. Tagliaferro is indeed a common surname in northeastern Italy, especially in the area around Venice.
Arms of Tagliaferro family of Tuscany. Sketch sent from Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, 1786 The origins of the Taliaferro name were of interest to George Wythe, Virginia colonial lawyer and classical scholar, who had married a Taliaferro. Wythe urged his former student and friend Thomas Jefferson to investigate the name when Jefferson traveled to Italy. Jefferson later reported to Wythe that he had found two families of the name in Tuscany, and that the family was of Italian origin. Jefferson enclosed his sketch of the coat-of-arms of the Tagliaferro family as reported to him by a friend in Florence, Italy SW