Caen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The name Caen came to England with the ancestors of the Caen family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Caen family lived in north Dorset and Cornwall area of England. The name is a reference to the family's tenure of residence in Caen, near Calvados, Normandy. The name is derived from the Old English word canne which literally means "a can or cup" but is used topographically to mean someone who lived in a hollow or deep valley. [1]

Early Origins of the Caen family

The surname Caen was first found in north Dorset where Cann is a village and in 2001 had a population of 955. The Domesday Book lists Cann Orchard in what is now Cornwall, as land held by Aelfric, an undertenant of the Count of Mortain. At that time, there was land enough for two ploughs, two acres of woodland and ten acres of pasture. [2]

Important Dates for the Caen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Caen research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 110 and 1100 are included under the topic Early Caen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Caen Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Cann, Caen, Can and others.

Early Notables of the Caen family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Caen family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Caen or a variant listed above: Robert Cann who settled in Virginia in 1637; John Cann and his wife Mary, settled in New Jersey in 1664; Robert Cann settled in New England in 1679; Thomas Cann settled in Virginia in 1643.

Contemporary Notables of the name Caen (post 1700)

  • Herbert Eugene Caen (1916-1997), American columnist awarded a special citation in 1996 by the Pulitzer Prize board

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Citations

  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
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