Fanning History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The roots of the Fanning 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, Fanning is generally thought to be derived from the Norman personal name Panin.

Early Origins of the Fanning family

The surname Fanning 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. 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. One notable bearer of the personal name who lived several centuries prior to the introduction of hereditary surnames was St. Finan who died in 661 AD, and achieved repute for his missionary work in England.

Early History of the Fanning family

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

Fanning Spelling Variations

Since church officials and medieval scribes spelt each name as it sounded to them; as a result, a single person could accumulate many different versions of his name within official records. A close examination of the origins of the name Fanning revealed the following spelling variations: Feenan, Fanning, Fannin, Fanningley, Fannon, Finan, Finnan, O'Finan and many more.

Early Notables of the Fanning family (pre 1700)

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


United States Fanning migration to the United States +

Ireland's Great Potato Famine left the country's inhabitants in extreme poverty and starvation. Many families left their homeland for North America for the promise of work, freedom and land ownership. Although the Irish were not free of economic and racial discrimination in North America, they did contribute greatly to the rapid development of bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Eventually, they would be accepted in other areas such as commerce, education, and the arts. An examination of immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Fanning:

Fanning Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edmund Fanning, who settled in New London, CT in 1653
  • Edmund Fanning, who landed in New London, Connecticut in 1653 [1]
  • William Fanning, who landed in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1668 [1]
  • John Fanning, who landed in Maryland in 1668 [1]
  • Edmond Fanning, who landed in Maryland in 1669 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fanning Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Fanning, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1766
Fanning Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Dennis Fanning, aged 30, who landed in Maryland in 1813 [1]
  • Thomas Fanning, who landed in New York in 1834 [1]
  • Martin Fanning, who landed in New York in 1836 [1]
  • Mary Fanning, aged 23, who landed in New York, NY in 1849 [1]
  • Thomas Fanning, aged 9, who landed in New York in 1854 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Fanning migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Fanning Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Fanning, who settled in Bonavista, Newfoundland in 1767 [2]
  • Edward Fanning, who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1775 [2]
  • Mr. David Fanning U.E. (b. 1755) born in North Carolina, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he died in 1825 in Digby, Nova Scotia [3]
Fanning Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Fanning, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1803
  • Alice Walsh Fanning, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1822
  • William Fanning was in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1822 [2]
  • P. Fanning was in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1832 [2]
  • Daniel Fanning, aged 32, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Matilda" from Cork, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Fanning migration to Australia +

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

Fanning Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Fanning, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glen Huntley" in 1849 [4]
  • Mr. James Fanning, English convict who was convicted in Clerkenwell, London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia [5]
  • Johanna Fanning, aged 21, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "James Fernie" [6]
  • Mary Fanning, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Victoria Regia"
  • Mary Fanning, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Victoria Regia"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Fanning 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:

Fanning Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Bridget Fanning, aged 17, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Fanning (post 1700) +

  • Mary Elle Fanning, American actress and younger sister of Dakota Fanning
  • Buckner R. Fanning (1926-2016), American Southern Baptist pastor
  • William James "Jim" Fanning (1927-2015), American Major League Baseball former catcher for the Chicago Cubs, and manager for the Montreal Expos
  • Katherine "Kay" Fanning (1927-2000), American journalist and newspaper editor and publisher, President of the American Society of News Editors (1987-1988)
  • Jerry M. Fanning (b. 1932), American semi-retired trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses who has had 1,600 career wins
  • David Fanning (1755-1825), British Loyalist leader in the American Revolutionary War, he was captured 14 times, each time receiving a pardon or escaping; he fled to Canada to become a MLA for Kings County, New Brunswick (1791-1801)
  • Nathaniel Fanning (1755-1805), American officer in the Continental Navy who served command of John Paul Jones, eponym of the USS Fanning (DD-385), a Mahan-class destroyer
  • Hanna Dakota Fanning (b. 1994), known as Dakota Fanning, American child actress and youngest nominee for a Screen Actors Guild Award. By the time she was 16 she had already won 13 major awards
  • Shawn Fanning (b. 1980), American computer programmer most famous for developing Napster, one of the first popular file sharing platforms
  • Grover E. Fanning, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 9 aerial victories
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  3. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The GLEN HUNTLEY 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849GlenHuntly.htm
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia
  6. ^ South Australian Register Friday 17th November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) James Fernie 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/jamesfernie1854.shtml


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