Benny History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The earliest origins of the name Benny are with the Viking settlers of the early Middle Ages; the surname having come from a place named by the Vikings It is a name for someone who lived at Bennie, near the village of Braco in the parish of Logi-Almond in Perthshire. [1]

One noted author claims the family was originally Norman from "Beaunay, the fief so named in Normandy. John de Beaunay is mentioned by Orderic at the battle of Mortemer in 1055; and in 1080 Bernard de Beaunay, with Robert Malet and other Norman lords, witnessed a deed of William de Ros, third Abbot of Fecamp." [2]

Early Origins of the Benny family

The surname Benny was first found in Cumberland and Westmorland. The move of many of the family from northern England to Scotland is not documented. But we do know that "Hugh de Benne or Bennef witnessed charters by Gilchrist, earl of Angus, c. 1201-7. Hugh filius Hugonis de Benne witnessed a charter by Vmfridus de Berkelay to the Abbey of Arnbroath c. 1204-11, and as de Benne or Bennef attested a charter by William filius Bernardi." [1]

Back in northern England, Yorkshire is of particular note. There we find Ralph Benny in the Subsidy Rolls of 1301 [3] and later Johannes Benny was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [4]

Jordan de Belnai, in 1165, held two fees of Earl Walter Giffard, in Buckinghamshire [5] and Hugh de Belne, according to the Testa de Nevill, held Belne, in Worcestershire, of the Baron of Dudley. [2]

Early History of the Benny family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Benny research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1321, 1399, 1498, 1522, 1600, 1607 and 1800 are included under the topic Early Benny History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Benny Spelling Variations

Medieval scribes most often spelled names by the way they sounded. spelling variations, are thus, very common in records dating from that time. Over the years, Benny has been spelled Benny, Beny, Bennie, Bennee, Benne, Beney, Benney and others.

Early Notables of the Benny family (pre 1700)

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


United States Benny migration to the United States +

The Scottish settlers spread out along the fertile land of the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. They and many of their children went on to play important roles in the forging of the great nations of the United States and Canada. That heritage has been recovered by many in this century through Clan societies and other Scottish historical organizations. Archival documents indicate that members of the Benny family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Benny Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Joseph Benny, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [6]
  • Edward Benny, who arrived in America in 1654 [6]
  • Edward Benny, who settled in Virginia in 1654
Benny Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Bartholomew Benny, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1813 [6]
  • James and Joseph, and Alexander Benny who, who settled in Virginia
  • Bernhard Benny, who arrived in New York, NY in 1850 [6]
  • James Benny, who arrived in Mississippi in 1856 [6]
  • Jacob Benny, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1861 [6]

Australia Benny migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Benny Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Benny, (b. 1827), aged 19 born in Bodmin, Cornwall, UK convicted in Bodmin on 6th January 1846, sentenced for 7 years for stealing coal, transported aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1846 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Henry Benny, (b. 1827), aged 19, Cornish settler convicted in Bodmin, Cornwall, UK on 6th January 1846, sentenced for 7 years for stealing 10 pounds of coal, transported aboard the ship "Lady Palmira" on 4th March 1846 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [8]
  • Mrs. Nanny Benny, (b. 1817), aged 40, Cornish housekeeper departing from Plymouth on 22nd July 1857 aboard the ship "Mindoro" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 23rd October 1857 [9]
  • Mr. John Benny, (b. 1854), aged 3, Cornish settler departing from Plymouth on 22nd July 1857 aboard the ship "Mindoro" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 23rd October 1857 [9]
  • Miss Eva Benny, (b. 1855), aged 2, Cornish settler departing from Plymouth on 22nd July 1857 aboard the ship "Mindoro" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 23rd October 1857 [9]

New Zealand Benny 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:

Benny Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Sarah Benny, (b. 1828), aged 33, English settler, from Middlesex travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [10]
  • Mr. Joseph Benny, (b. 1830), aged 31, English ploughman, from Middlesex travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [10]
  • Miss Elizabeth M Benny, (b. 1856), aged 5, English settler, from Middlesex travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [10]
  • Miss Ellen Benny, (b. 1858), aged 3, English settler, from Middlesex travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [10]
  • Mr. George E. Benny, (b. 1860), aged 1, English settler, from Middlesex travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Benny (post 1700) +

  • Jack Benny (1894-1974), born Benjamin Kubelsky, an American comedian, vaudeville performer, and radio, television, and film actor
  • Lorraine Benny, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virgin Islands, 1980 [11]
  • Allan Benny (1867-1942), American Democratic Party politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Hudson County, 1898-1900; U.S. Representative from New Jersey 9th District, 1903-05; Defeated, 1904 [11]
  • Benjamin Benny (1869-1935), Australian politician
  • Robert Irving Benny Jr., Computer company economist, in Vienna, Virginia
  • Joe Benny Corona (b. 1990), American born, Mexican football player
  • Benny Dees (1934-2021), American college basketball head coach of the University of New Orleans Privateers team from 1985 to 1987
  • Benny Napoleon (1955-2020), American attorney, law enforcement officer, and politician who served as the Sheriff of Wayne County, Michigan
  • Benny DeFranco (b. 1953), Canadian guitarist, member of the The DeFranco Family, featuring Tony DeFranco, a Canadian pop music group, active in the 1970s
  • Benny Reynolds (1936-2014), American rodeo champion, awarded the World Champion All Around Cowboy title in 1961


The Benny Motto +

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: Virtute et opera
Motto Translation: By virtue and energy.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/tasmanian_convicts_cornish.pdf
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_convicts.pdf
  9. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 14) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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