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

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

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Guernesy, Gourneys, Gurnsey and others.

First found in Hampshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Ansneville, a commission of Duke William in 1050 from the island of Guernsey, taken by pirates in the island hand who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Guernsey research. Another 203 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1061 and 1066 are included under the topic Early Guernsey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Guernsey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Guernsey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • James Guernsey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1849
  • S W Guernsey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  9. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  10. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  11. ...

The Guernsey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Guernsey 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 25 June 2013 at 14:21.

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