Denison History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The surname Denis is one of the oldest family names to come from the French region known as Bretagne, or Brittany in English. It is derived from the Greek given name Dionysios, which means a follower of the Greek god of the same name. Much of the popularity of the name Denison is due to the fact that it was borne by the 3rd century Bishop of Paris who later became the patron saint of France.

Early Origins of the Denison family

The surname Denison was first found in Champagne, where this illustrious family held a family seat since ancient times. By the 14th century the family was well established in the region of Thiérache and several members of the family distinguished themselves through their contributions to the community in which they lived and were rewarded with lands, titles and letters patent confirming their nobility.

From the original line of Thiérache, the family branched, expanded, and prospered. Resulting from this expansion, the members of the family had their names recorded with a variety of spellings. As the members of the many branches were involved politically and culturally in their region, they were recorded in the ancient surveys. From the ancient records of the Denisard branch, Adam of la Capelle is recorded in Thiérache in 1340, Jehan is noted in 1360 and Mahieu is registered in 1404. From the Denise branch, Bernard appears in 1294, Pierre in 1384, Jehan Denise rendered homage in 1390, and Jacques appears in a census of 1448. As well, from the ancient cartularies Jehan Denisot is mentioned in 1438. [1]

Important Dates for the Denison family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Denison research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1700, 1700, 1610, 1670, 1644, 1708, 1598, 1688, 1643, 1704, 1659, 1711, 1715 and 1706 are included under the topic Early Denison History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Denison Spelling Variations

Throughout the course of history most surnames have undergone changes for many reasons. During the early development of the French language, a son and father may not have chosen to spell their name the same way. Many are simple spelling changes by a person who gave his name, phonetically, to a scribe, priest, or recorder. Many names held prefixes or suffixes which became optional as they passed through the centuries, or were adopted by different branches to signify either a political or religious adherence. Hence, we have many spelling variations of this name, Denison some of which are Denis, Dennis, Denys, Dennys, Denice, Denise, Deniset, Deniseau, Denison, Denisard, Denizot, Denizon and many more.

Early Notables of the Denison family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family during this period was Claude Denis, Lord of la Cornillere, during the 1700's; Frans Denys (c. 1610-1670), a Flemish Baroque painter mainly of portraits; Jacob Denys (1644-1708) was a Flemish Baroque painter; Nicolas Denys (1598?-1688), a French aristocrat who became an explorer, colonizer, soldier and leader in New France, founder of settlements at...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Denison Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Denison migration to the United States

In 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in Quebec, in 1663 there were only 500, 2,000 migrants arrived during the next decade. Early marriage was desperately encouraged amongst the immigrants. Youths of 18 took fourteen-year-old girls for their wives. The fur trade was developed and attracted migrants, both noble and commoner from France. 15,000 explorers left Montreal in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Migration from France to New France or Quebec as it was now more popularly called, continued from France until it fell in 1759. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In 1755, 10,000 French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were deported to Louisiana. Meanwhile, in Quebec, the French race flourished, founding in Lower Canada, one of the two great solitudes which became Canada. Many distinguished contributions have been made by members of this family name Denison. It has been prominent in the arts, religion, politics and culture in France and New France. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Denison were

Denison Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Denison, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Edward Denison, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [2]
  • William Denison, his wife Margaret, and their three sons, who settled in Massachusetts in 1631
  • William Denison, who landed in Massachusetts in 1631 [2]
  • Margaret Denison, who landed in Massachusetts in 1632 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Denison Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Catherine Denison, who settled in Maryland in 1735
Denison Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Denison, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [2]

Denison migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Denison Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Ann Denison, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760

Denison migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Denison Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Denison, aged 22, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Seringapatam" in 1856

Contemporary Notables of the name Denison (post 1700)

  • Edward Fulton Denison (1915-1992), American economist
  • Edward E. Denison (1873-1953), American congressman
  • Ellery Denison (1900-1989), American philatelist who specialized in the postage stamps and postal history of China
  • Daniel Denison, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly, 1836-37, 1851 [3]
  • Charles Denison (1818-1867), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 12th District, 1863-67; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1864 [3]
  • Charles Denison, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Suffield, 1826 [3]
  • Charles Denison, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from New Haven, 1820 [3]
  • C. Lyman Denison, American politician, Mayor of Belleville, New Jersey, 1911-13 [3]
  • Andrew W. Denison, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Maryland, 1868; Postmaster at Baltimore, Maryland, 1869-77 [3]
  • Andrew Denison, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Suffield, 1822-23, 1828; Member of Connecticut State Senate 2nd District, 1831-32 [3]
  • ... (Another 32 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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  1. ^ Hozier, Charles D, and Antoine Bachelin-Delforenne. État présent De La Noblesse française (1883-1887): Contenant Le Distionnaire De La Noblesse Contemporaine Et Larmorial général De France, Dapres Les Manuscrits De Ch. D Hozier. Librairie Des Bibliophiles, 1884. Print.
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from
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