Show ContentsFannin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The roots of the Fannin surname in Ireland are somewhat unclear; it seems that the name was both native Irish Gaelic, and Norman. The Gaelic name ó Fionnáin seems to be derived from Gaelic word "fionn," which means "fair," and has been Anglicized as "Finan" and "Fanning," both of which are Norman names that came to Ireland in the 12th century. As a Norman name, Fannin is generally thought to be derived from the Norman personal name Panin.

Early Origins of the Fannin family

The surname Fannin was first found in Limerick (Irish: Luimneach) located in Southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster, where Fanningstoown, previously known as Ballyfanning can be found, as well as in neighboring Tipperary where this Norman family settled at Ballingarry. [1]

One line of thinking is that they were originally from Fainent in Normandy, and arrived in England during the Norman Conquest of 1066, and came to Ireland in the 12th century. [2]

Saint Finan (d. 661), was ordained in Scotland according to the rites of the Columban church. His diocese at Lindisfarne embraced nearly all Northumbria. He rose to become Bishop of Lindisfarne and and succeeded in the see of Lindisfarne in 652. [3]

In England, Thomas Fannyng was listed in the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1405 where it is possibly a variant of Fenning. [4] David Fenning was listed in Norfolk c. 1248 and John ffening was recorded there in 1290. [4]

Early History of the Fannin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fannin research. Another 157 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1636, 1651 and 1901 are included under the topic Early Fannin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fannin Spelling Variations

Medieval scribes and church officials spelled the names as they sounded, so a name was often spelled many different ways during the lifetime of a single person. The investigation of the origin of the name Fannin revealed many spelling variations including Feenan, Fanning, Fannin, Fanningley, Fannon, Finan, Finnan, O'Finan and many more.

Early Notables of the Fannin family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Fannin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fannin Ranking

In the United States, the name Fannin is the 4,876th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [5]

United States Fannin migration to the United States +

During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Fannin:

Fannin Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Pat Fannin, who landed in Maryland in 1678 [6]
Fannin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Fannin, aged 56, who immigrated to the United States, in 1896
Fannin Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • James Fannin, aged 30, who landed in America from Donegal, in 1904
  • Maggie Fannin, aged 21, who settled in America from Cavan, in 1905
  • Martin Fannin, aged 28, who landed in America from Dublin, Ireland, in 1907
  • Patrick Fannin, aged 56, who landed in America from Dunmore, Ireland, in 1910
  • Matthew Fannin, aged 20, who immigrated to America from Dunmore, Ireland, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Fannin migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Fannin Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Ann Fannin, aged 7 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Wakefield" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in July 1847 [7]
  • Miss. Margaret Fannin, aged 11 months who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec but died on Grosse Isle on 20th May 1847 [7]

New Zealand Fannin 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:

Fannin Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Margaret A. Fannin, aged 16, a servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name Fannin (post 1700) +

  • Colonel James Walker Fannin Jr. (1804-1836), namesake of Fannin county, Texas, who, on March 20, 1836 surrendered himself and 284 of his men after the Battle of Coleto to the Mexican General Santa Anna who had Fannin and the men executed as traitors
  • Paul Jones Fannin (1907-2002), American politician, Governor of the Arizona from 1959 to 1965
  • Mario Fannin (b. 1987), American football running back
  • Robert Eugene Fannin, retired American Bishop of the United Methodist Church, elected in 1992

Suggested Readings for the name Fannin +

  • James Fanning of Hopkinton Mass., and Some of His Descendants by Frederic L. Stafford.

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  2. 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)
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 27) on Facebook