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

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

The ancient roots of the Venn family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Venn comes from when the family lived near a marsh or swamp. Another name for wetlands is fen, in the Old English fenn, from which this name is derived. There are two place-names that may serve as sources for the name as well: Fen, in Lincolnshire, and Venn, in Devon.

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One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Venn has appeared include Fenn, Fenne, Fennoy, Fann, Fan, Venn, Fen and others.

First found in Devon, where the family held a family seat from early times. The origins of the name make it likely that several branches of the Venn family emerged independently in different areas during the Middle Ages. The earliest known bearer of the name was Godwin de la Fenna, who was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1176.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Venn research. Another 273 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1176, 1185, 1190, 1199, 1297, 1639, 1637, 1723, 1615, 1987, 1687, 1586, 1650, 1641 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Venn History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 187 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Venn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Venn arrived in North America very early:

Venn Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • John Venn, who landed in Maryland in 1674

Venn Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Ferdinand Venn, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1850

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  • Albert H. Venn (1867-1908), American silver medalist lacrosse player at the 1904 Summer Olympics
  • Henry Venn (1796-1873), English clergyman, honorary secretary of the Church Missionary Society from 1841 to 1873, campaigner of the Clapham Sect
  • John Venn (1759-1813), English clergyman, Rector of Little Dunham, Norfolk (1783-1792)
  • Henry Venn (1725-1797), English evangelical minister and one of the founders of the Clapham Sect
  • Charles "Chucky" Venn (b. 1973), born Charles Venice, an English actor, known for his roles as footballers
  • John Venn (1834-1923), British mathematician best known for developing the Venn diagram, the pictorial representation of the relationships between sets
  • Blair Venn, Australian actor, best known for his role on the television series Head Start
  • Harry Whittall Venn (1844-1908), Australian politician, Commissioner of Railways and Minister of Works from 1890 to 1896
  • Kathleen Joan "Kath" Venn (b. 1926), former Australian politician from Tasmania
  • John Archibald Venn CMG FSA JP (1883-1958), British economist, President of Queens' College, Cambridge, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, 19411943, son of John Venn


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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  6. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  7. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  11. ...

The Venn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Venn 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 30 May 2013 at 10:41.

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