The name Chernigan arrived in England
after the Norman Conquest
of 1066. The Chernigan family lived in Norfolk.
Early Origins of the Chernigan family
The surname Chernigan 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
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
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. CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
Early History of the Chernigan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chernigan research.Another 361 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1222, 1550 and 1762 are included under the topic Early Chernigan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Chernigan Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations
. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Jernegan, Jerningham, Jernygham, Jernigan, Jenningham, Jenningan and many more.
Early Notables of the Chernigan family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Chernigan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Chernigan family to the New World and Oceana
Because of the political and religious discontent in England
, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Chernigan name or one of its variants: 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 Chernigan 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: Virtus basis vitae
Motto Translation: Virtue is the support of life.