Chernagen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Chernagen is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Chernagen family lived in Suffolk. "The surname, now rare, is found particularly in Suffolk where Little Stonham, also known as Stanham Gernagan (1244 Feet of Fines for Suffolk), was long held by the family of Hubert Jarnegan (1222 Feet of Fines for Suffolk). In [the Domesday Book of ] 1086  land was held in Stonham by Earl Alan and Iuichel the priest and there can be little doubt that Gernagan is a Celtic name brought over by the Bretons at the Conquest." 
Early Origins of the Chernagen family
The surname Chernagen was first found in Norfolk, where one of the first records of the name appeared as a forename: Jernegan Fitz-Hugh who was listed there in 1180. The surname was probably derived as someone who was "the son of Gernegan." Jernegan was anciently a Christian name that appeared in quite a few records. "The first that I meet with of this family was called Hugh, without any other addition, whose son was named Jernegan Fitz-Hugh, or the son of Hugh; he is mentioned in the Castle-Acre priory register, and he died about 1182."
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William Gernegon in Norfolk and Walter Gernegan in Suffolk.  The Jernegan spelling was used by Lord Stafford's ancestors until the 16th century when the name was changed to Jerningham. His successors took the baptismal name Jernegan as their surname. 
"A branch of the Jerningham family was established at Painswick, in Bisley hundred [in Gloucestershire]. Sir Henry Jerningham, the second Baronet of his family, married Mary, daughter of Benedict Hall, of High Meadow, Esq." 
Early History of the Chernagen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chernagen research. Another 181 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1222, 1550, 1762, 1571, 1547, 1553 and 1571 are included under the topic Early Chernagen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Chernagen Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Chernagen are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Chernagen include Jernegan, Jerningham, Jernygham, Jernigan, Jenningham, Jenningan and many more.
Early Notables of the Chernagen family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Henry Jerningham (d. 1571), an adherent of Queen Mary, the eldest son and heir of Sir Edward Jernegan of Huntingfield, Suffolk, by his second wife, Mary, daughter of Lord Scroop. The manor of Cossey (or Costessy), Norfolk, was granted him in 1547, and he thus became the founder of the Cossey branch of the Jernegan family, spelling the name Jerningham to distinguish his branch from the Somerleyton Jernegans. " He was the first to appear openly...
Migration of the Chernagen family
Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Chernagen, or a variant listed above: Thomas, Ellen and Mary Jermegan, who sailed to Maryland in 1637; Michael Jenningan to New York in 1820 and Jenny Jernegan to San Francisco in 1875.
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: Virtus basis vitae
Motto Translation: Virtue is the support of life.