An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Engain, Gain, Gayn, Gaines, Ingain, Engham, Engaine, D'Engain, D'Engayne, Engame, Engam, Gayne, Gayn, Gaynes, Angain, Gayney, Dengaine, Dengayne, Dangain, D'Angain, Gagne, Ingen and many more.
First found in Huntingdonshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book,  indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Redinger held by Richard d'Engaine who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086. Richard was of Engen near Boulogne and accompanied the Conqueror at Hastings. Vitalis, his son, married the daughter of the Earl of Oxford, Alberic de Ver. It is apparent that the main line of the family were one of the rebellious barons for the next we hear is of Vitalis and Richard in Northumberland in 1130. Ralph Engaine held estates in Cumberland in 1158. Some lines of the family continued in Gloucestershire, Suffolk and Devon where Richard Ingayn held in 1310.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Engen research. Another 284 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1124, 1299, 1346, 1347, and 1380 are included under the topic Early Engen History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Engen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Engen or a variant listed above were: Bernard Gaines who arrived in Virginia in 1654; Roger Gain who settled in Virginia in 1658; David Gaines who arrived in Nevis in 1663; Patrick Gain who settled in Missouri in 1840.
The Engen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Engen Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 10 December 2015 at 10:21.