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
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. CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
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. CITATION[CLOSE]
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
Early History of the Caen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Caen research.Another 233 words (17 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 to the New World and Oceana
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
The Caen 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: Perimus licitis
Motto Translation: We perish by what is lawful.