Chesnutt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The first people to use the distinguished Chesnutt family name were found n France, and was a Huguenot surname. It was brought to England, in the 15th and 16th centuries when the Huguenots fled France because of the religious persecution that threatened their survival there. The Chesnutt family originated in Touraine, France. Their name, however, indicates that they once lived near a prominent chestnut tree or grove of such trees.
Early Origins of the Chesnutt family
The surname Chesnutt was first found in Touraine in France, where they were Lords of Breaux, Montay and la Doucinier, where they held a family seat for many centuries. Conjecturally, the Chestnuts were derived from this source, as we shall see. The Chesneaus were known as the Chesneau (du) de la Haugreniere and had branches in Maine and Lorraine. Guillame (William) Chesneau was Chamberlayn to King Charles VII of France. The family fled France when the revocation of the Edict of Nantes was effected in 1685, disallowing protestants the right to worship.
Early History of the Chesnutt family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chesnutt research. Another 262 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1800, 1803, 1790, 135 , 1743, 1813 and 1800 are included under the topic Early Chesnutt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Chesnutt Spelling Variations
Huguenot surnames were only slightly Anglicized, and they remain to this day a distinct group of surnames in England. Nevertheless, Huguenot surnames have been subject to numerous spelling alterations since the names emerged in France. French surnames have a variety of spelling variations because the French language has changed drastically over the centuries. French was developed from the vernacular Latin of the Roman Empire. It is divided into three historic and linguistic periods: Old French, which developed before the 14th century; Middle French, which was used between the 14th and 16th centuries; and Modern French, which was used after the 16th century and continues to be in use today. In all of these periods, the French language was heavily influenced by other languages. For example, Old French was infused with Germanic words and sounds when the barbarian tribes invaded and settled in France after the fall of the Roman Empire. Middle French also borrowed heaviliy from the Italian language during the Renaissance. Huguenot names have numerous variations. The name may be spelled Chesneau, Chesnoit, Chestnoit, Chestnit, Chestnitt, Chestnet, Chestnett, Chestnut, Chesnut, Chestnutt and many more.
Early Notables of the Chesnutt family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Chesnutt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Chesnutt family to Ireland
Some of the Chesnutt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Chesnutt family
Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Chesnutt: John Chestnut who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1802; Samuel Chestnut arrived in New York State in 1803; Samuel Chestnut arrived in Philadelphia in 1811.
Contemporary Notables of the name Chesnutt (post 1700) +
- James Victor "Vic" Chesnutt (1964-2009), American singer-songwriter from Athens, Georgia
- Cody Chesnutt (b. 1968), American R&B and neo soul musician
- Reason Chesnutt Bell (b. 1880), American Democrat politician, Justice of Georgia State Supreme Court, 1932-43, 1946-49; Appointed 1932; Chief Justice of Georgia Supreme Court, 1943-46 
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