Chernigen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 added many new elements to an already vibrant culture. Among these were thousands of new names. The Chernigen 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 Chernigen family
The surname Chernigen 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 Chernigen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chernigen 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 Chernigen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Chernigen Spelling Variations
Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Jernegan, Jerningham, Jernygham, Jernigan, Jenningham, Jenningan and many more.
Early Notables of the Chernigen 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 Chernigen family
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Chernigen 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.