Arness History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Arness surname finds its earliest origins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name is derived from the personal name Agnes, which itself is derived from the Greek name Hagne, which means pure and holy. The name was also used in the Latin phrase Agnus Dei, which means lamb of God. The personal name Agnes was popularized by devotees, the early Christian martyr, Saint Agnes. [1]

The name could have been an occupational name as one source notes it was "the old word for body-armour. Hence Lightharness, and the French Beauhamois, or 'fair harness.'' [2]

Early Origins of the Arness family

The surname Arness was first found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 where the name was found as a forename and surname: Robert filius Harneis, Lincolnshire; John filius Hernici, Lincolnshire; Roger Herneys, Norfolk; John Harneys, Cambridgeshire; and Heme' de Stano, Suffolk. [3]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Robert Arnys; Robertus Arnis; Johanna Ernys; and Robert Hernays. [3]

The name is a "well-known Lincolnshire surname to-day, and found there six centuries ago." [3]

Early History of the Arness family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Arness research. Another 97 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1402 and 1384 are included under the topic Early Arness History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Arness Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Arness are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Arness include: Anniss, Anness, Arness, Annison, Arnison, Annes, Ennis and many more.

Early Notables of the Arness family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Arness Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Arness family to Ireland

Some of the Arness family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Arness migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Arness or a variant listed above:

Arness Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Arness, who arrived at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1685

Contemporary Notables of the name Arness (post 1700) +

  • James King Arness (1923-2011), born James King Aurness, an American actor, best known for his role as Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke for 20 years, older brother of actor Peter Graves [4]


  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ James Arness. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) James Arness. Retrieved from http://www.jamesarness.com/


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