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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the English Jennings family come from? What is the English Jennings family crest and coat of arms? When did the Jennings family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Jennings family history?

The history of the name Jennings began when it was derived from The name Jennings is derived from the personal name John, or perhaps more accurately from several diminutions of the name John, such as Jan, Jon, or Jen. Patronymic surnames belong to the larger category of surnames, known as hereditary surnames, and they arose out of the vernacular and religious given name traditions. In the religious naming tradition, which was developed later than the vernacular tradition, surnames were bestowed in honor of religious figures or church officials. In Europe, the Christian Church was one of the most powerful influences on the formation of given names. Personal names derived from the names of saints, apostles, biblical figures, and missionaries are widespread in most European countries. In the Middle Ages, they became increasingly popular because people believed that the souls of the deceased continued to be involved in this world. They named their children after saints in the hope that the child would be blessed or protected by the saint. John, of course, is derived from John the Baptist, who was born in order to announce Christ's coming.

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There are many spelling variations of Breton surnames, because the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find references to one individual with many different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Jennings, Jenings, Jennins, Jennyns, Jennens, Jennynge, Jennynges, Jenyns and many more.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jennings research. Another 265 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1332, 1508, 1567, 1591, 1570, 1660, 1619, 1668, 1642, 1668, 1660, 1717, 1710, 1717, 1745 and are included under the topic Early Jennings History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 239 words(17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jennings Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Jennings family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 121 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Jennings arrived in North America very early:

Jennings Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Mary Jennings settled in Maryland 1633
  • Mary Jennings, who landed in Maryland in 1633
  • Nicholas Jennings, aged 22, landed in New England in 1634
  • Jon Jennings, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Richard Jennings, aged 35, landed in Bermuda in 1635


Jennings Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • William Jennings, who landed in Leeward Islands in 1703-1704

Jennings Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • George Jennings, who landed in New York in 1826
  • Charles Jennings, who arrived in New York in 1835
  • Joseph Jennings, who landed in New York in 1835
  • Edward Jennings, who landed in New York in 1838
  • Catherine Jennings, aged 19, landed in New York, NY in 1848


Jennings Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Christian Jennings, who landed in Pike County, Ind in 1900

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  • Ken Jennings (b. 1974), American software engineer who holds the record for longest winning streak and most money won on the American gameshow 'Jeopardy'
  • Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings CM (1938-2005), Canadian-born, American sixteen Emmy winning TV Newscaster, anchor of ABC's World News Tonight (1983 to 2005)
  • Waylon Jennings (1937-2002), American singer, songwriter and guitarist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (2001)
  • Gary Jennings (1928-1999), American author who wrote children's and adult novels
  • Jonathan Jennings (1784-1834), American politician, first Governor of Indiana
  • Jason Ryan Jennings (b. 1978), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • David Tuthill Jennings (1952-2013), American NFL football punter who played from 1974 through 1987
  • Adam Jennings (b. 1982), American NFL football wide receiver
  • Brandon Jennings (b. 1989), American professional NBA basketball player
  • Brian Lewis Jennings (b. 1976), American NFL football long snapper and tight end for the San Francisco 49ers (2000-2012)

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  • A Family History by Mildred King Whitten.
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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  11. ...

The Jennings Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Jennings Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 10 February 2014 at 11:05.

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