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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


Belnap is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived in Belknapp, in the county of Warwickshire.

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The surname Belnap was first found in Warwickshire, at Griff, a hamlet, in the parish of Chilvers-Coton, union of Nuneaton, Atherstone division of the hundred of Hemlingford. This hamlet was held by the Giffard family since the reign of Elizabeth I and later passed to the Newdigates, of Arbury. [1] According to Duchesne, in his publication "List of Conquerors of England," Belknape was one of the companions to William the Conqueror and is listed on the Roll of Battle Abbey. [2] However, little else is known of the family in earlier times. The next earliest record of the family was found in the hamlet of Griff as a birth record of Sir John Belknap (1309-1367.) He was father of Sir Robert Belknap (1339-1399) who was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in England. His son was Hamon Belknap (1394-1429), also known variously as Bealknap and Beltoft. One of his sons was Henry Belknap, Lord of Oston (1435-1488.)

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Belnap family name include Belknap, Bellknap, Belknape, Belknappe, Bellknappe and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Belnap research. Another 159 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1374, 1388, 1428, 1420, 1404, 1471 and 1521 are included under the topic Early Belnap History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Belnap Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Belnap surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Thomas Belknap who settled in Lynn Massachusetts in 1620; Abraham Belknap, the scion of the family from Warwickshire, also settled in Lynn in 1637. They became one of America's distinguished families..

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  • Gilbert Belnap (1821-1899), Canadian-born, American Mormon pioneer, LDS Church leader, and an early colonizer of Ogden, Utah
  • David Foster Belnap (1922-2009), American award-winning journalist, foreign correspondent
  • Arias Guy Belnap (1893-1974), American politician from Utah, leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Nuel D. Belnap Jr. (b. 1930), American logician and philosopher


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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  3. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  6. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  11. ...

The Belnap Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Belnap 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 24 March 2016 at 11:06.

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