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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

The Strathclyde-Briton people of ancient Scotland were the first to use the name Tennant. It is a name for someone who works as a tenant farmer. The name was applied to those who paid for the rent on their land through working the fields and donating a percentage of the take to the landlord.

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Before the printing press standardized spelling in the last few hundred years, no general rules existed in the English language. Spelling variations in Scottish names from the Middle Ages are common even within a single document. Tennant has been spelled Tennant, tenant, Tennand, Tennan, Tenman, Tennend, Tennent, Tenand and many more.

First found in Linlithgowshire (Gaelic: Lodainn an Iar), former county in south-central Scotland, now the Council Area West Lothian, where they held a family seat at Crestone or Creston from about the year 1150 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tennant research. Another 215 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1320, 1339, 1366, 1644, and 1649 are included under the topic Early Tennant History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Tennant family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For Scottish immigrants, the great expense of travel to North America did not seem such a problem in those unstable times. Acres of land awaited them and many got the chance to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. These Scots and their ancestors went on to play important roles in the forging of the great nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Tennant Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Christopher Tennant, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Christopher Tennant, who settled in Virginia in 1635

Tennant Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • James Tennant, who arrived in Virginia in 1708
  • David, Judith and Rebecca Tennant, who all arrived in Charlestown, South Carolina in 1766
  • William Tennant, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1776

Tennant Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • John Tennant, who landed in Delaware in 1800
  • Robert Tennant, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1810
  • William Tennant, who arrived in New York in 1810

Tennant Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • David Tennant, aged 26, who landed in America from Rutherglen, in 1903
  • Arthur Tennant, aged 4, who settled in America from Scotland, in 1909
  • Amy Tennant, aged 23, who landed in America from Cambnstang, Scotland, in 1910
  • Annie Tennant, aged 38, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1912
  • Alexander Tennant, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1912


Tennant Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • James Tennant arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Protector" in 1834

Tennant Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Tennant arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Jessie Tennant arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Margaret Tennant arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Elizabeth Tennant arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Andrew Tennant arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839


Tennant Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • E. G. Tennant arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1870

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  • Donald G Tennant (1922-2001), American advertising executive, who invented "Tony the Tiger" and the "Marlboro Man"
  • Charles Tennant (1768-1838), Scottish businessman, industrialist and Liberal politician
  • William Tennant (1784-1848), Scottish poet
  • Kylie Tennant (1912-1988), Australian novelist, playwright and historian
  • Stephen Tennant (1906-1987), British aristocrat, known for his decadent lifestyle
  • Edward Priaulx Tennant (1859-1920), English noble, made 1st Baron Glenconner in 1911
  • Edward Wyndham Tennant (1897-1916), English war poet
  • Veronica Tennant CC, FRSC (b. 1946), English-born, Canadian prima ballerina
  • Victoria Tennant (b. 1950), English film and television actress
  • Andrew Tennant (1835-1913), Scottish-born Australian pastoralist, businessman and politician

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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: Plena Dabit Deus Vela
Motto Translation: God will fill our sails.

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  1. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  5. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  6. 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.
  7. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  8. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  9. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  10. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  11. ...

The Tennant Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tennant 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 8 January 2015 at 12:49.

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