Deans History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Deans is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when a family lived in an area where there was a valley. The place-name is derived from the Old English word denu, when translated means valley. This Old English word has also given rise to other local names such as West Dean in Sussex, Deane in Hampshire and Dean in Essex. [1]

"Atte Dene is the common form in old times, implying residence at such a place. There are, however, eighteen parishes or places called Dean in the Gazetteer of England, and Dene occurs in Domesday Book as a personal appellation." [2] Alternatively, the name could have been from one who holds the office as in "the dean." [3]

Another source claims the name could have been Norman in origin as two listings in the Latin form of the name were found in the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae in 1180-1195: William and Godfrey Decanus of Normandy. [4]

Early Origins of the Deans family

The surname Deans was first found in Sussex where the first record was of Ralph Dene holding manor and estates in that shire. [5]

"This name has two principal areas of distribution, one in Cheshire, Staffordshire, and in their vicinity, the other in the south of England, especially in Wiltshire and in the counties adjacent. There are numerous parishes of the name in the south of England, a circumstance that explains the prevalence of the name in that region." [6]

By the time of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the name was scattered perhaps eluding to the aforementioned occupational nature of the name: Thomas dela Dene, Hertfordshire; Jacob de la Dene, Kent; and Robert le Deen, Cambridgeshire. [3]

In northern England, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Johanna del Dene; Willelmus del Dene; and Johannes de Denne as all holding lands there at that time. [3]

William Dene (fl. 1350), was an early English chronicler and probably author of a work preserved in the Cotton Library in the British Museum containing a record of the history of Rochester, 'Annales Roffenses,' from 1314 to 1358. "A William Dene who is mentioned as archdeacon of Rochester at various dates between 1323 and 1338 is no doubt to be distinguished from the chronicler, though probably related to him." [7]

Early History of the Deans family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Deans research. Another 147 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1400, 1588, 1628, 1899, 1440, 1503, 1491, 1496, 1501, 1503, 1500, 1502, 1610, 1653, 1638, 1721, 1676, 1708, 1588, 1582, 1585, 1588 and are included under the topic Early Deans History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Deans Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Deans family name include Dean, Deane, Dene, Deans, Deanes, Denes, Adeane and others.

Early Notables of the Deans family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Henry Deane (c.1440-1503), Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1491 to 1496, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1501 to 1503 and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal from 1500 to 1502; Richard Deane (1610-1653), a British naval general and major general for Cromwell; Sir Anthony Deane (1638-1721), English politician, naval architect, Master Shipwright and commercial shipbuilder, Mayor of Harwich, Essex in 1676; and Deane, made Baron Muskerry of Ireland by Queen Anne in 1708. William Deane (d. 1588), was an English Catholic divine, educated in the English college at Rheims, and after...
Another 95 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Deans Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Deans Ranking

In the United States, the name Deans is the 6,974th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Deans family to Ireland

Some of the Deans family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 86 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Deans migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Deans surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Deans Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Deans, who landed in Virginia in 1762 [9]
Deans Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ramo Deans, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1829 [9]
  • Walter Deans, who arrived in America in 1831 [9]
  • J W Deans, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [9]
  • Jacob Deans, who arrived in New York in 1851 [9]
  • J Deans, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Deans migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Deans Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Deans, aged 23, a weaver, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Switzerland"

New Zealand Deans migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Deans Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Deans, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Aurora
  • William Deans, aged 22, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • John Deans, aged 22, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1842
  • John Deans, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842
  • Mr. John Deans, (b. 1820), aged 22, British farmer travelling from London aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" arriving in Nelson, South Island, New Zealand on 28th October 1842 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Deans (post 1700) +

  • Mickey Deans (1934-2003), born Michael DeVinko, American musician and entrepreneur, fifth and last husband of Judy Garland
  • Ruth C. Deans, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1972 [11]
  • Parke Poindexter Deans (b. 1880), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1912 [11]
  • L. A. Deans, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1916 [11]
  • Gilbert B. Deans, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Alabama, 1904, 1912 (alternate) [11]
  • Delores Deans, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1972 [11]
  • David Deans Jr., American politician, Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Milford, 1956 [11]
  • Mrs. Eleanor Marshall Deans B.E.M., British recipient of the British Empire Medal on 8th June 2018, for services to the community in Londonderry [12]
  • Mr. William Grieve Deans M.B.E., British Lifeboat Operations Manager for Aberdeen Lifeboat Station for the Royal Naval Lifeboat Institute, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Maritime Safety [13]
  • Ian Bruce Deans (1960-2019), New Zealand rugby union player
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Deans 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: Forti et fideli nihil difficile
Motto Translation: To the brave and faithful man nothing is difficult.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 1) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 31 October 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/62310/supplement/B1
  13. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists


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