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

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

Jernigan is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Jernigan family lived in Norfolk.

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It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Jernigan are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Jernigan include Jernegan, Jerningham, Jernygham, Jernigan, Jenningham, Jenningan and many more.

First found in Norfolk, where they held a family seat from the 12th century.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jernigan research. Another 297 words(21 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1222, 1550, and 1762 are included under the topic Early Jernigan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Jernigan, or a variant listed above:

Jernigan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Aaron Jernigan (1813-1891), the first settler of Orange County, Florida who arrived there from Georgia in 1843, eponym of Jernigan, Florida, honored as "Orlando's first settler"

Jernigan Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Harry Jernigan, aged 21, who settled in America, in 1917
  • Wade F. Jernigan, aged 32, who emigrated to America, in 1919
  • Clarence Jernigan, aged 19, who emigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • Johni Jernigan, aged 21, who emigrated to the United States, in 1921
  • W. F. Jernigan, aged 35, who landed in America, in 1922

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  • Dennis Jernigan (b. 1959), American Christian singer-songwriter
  • Doug Jernigan (b. 1946), American musician, inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1994
  • Gerald D. Jernigan (1942-2006), American politician, Mayor of the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan (1987 to 1991)
  • Norman Kenneth Jernigan (1926-1998), American blind civil rights activist, leader of the National Federation of the Blind
  • Kenton Jernigan, American squash player in the 1980s and 1990s who won the US national singles title three consecutive times (1983 to 1985)
  • Tamara Elizabeth "Tammy" Jernigan (b. 1959), American scientist & former NASA astronaut with over 1,512 hours in space, she flew on five space shuttle missions
  • Jerrel Jernigan (b. 1989), American NFL football wide receiver for the New York Giants


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  • Jernigan Reunion by Lillian Jernigan Worley.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Virtus basis vitae
Motto Translation: Virtue is the support of life.

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  1. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  11. ...

The Jernigan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Jernigan 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 12 May 2014 at 11:37.

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