Show ContentsFarnan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Farnan is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived at Farnham, in several different counties including Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Essex, Suffolk, and the West Riding of Yorkshire. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. In this case the surname Farnan was originally derived from the Old English words fearn + hamm which means a fern-covered homestead or property.

Early Origins of the Farnan family

The surname Farnan was first found in one of the many villages names Farnham throughout England in the following counties or shires: Dorset, Essex, North Yorkshire, Suffolk, and Surrey. Farnham Common and Farnham Royal are located in Buckinghamshire. [1]

The name has numerous listings in the Domesday Book with various spellings that were in use at the time: Fernham, Dorset; Phernham Essex; Fareham North Yorkshire; Farnham, Suffolk; and Fernham Surrey. Farnham Royal was listed as Fernham Riall. [2]

While one would suppose the surname originated from one or more of the aforementioned locals, another reference suggests we must look to Leicestershire, specifically Quorndon to find the surname's true origin as in "this ancient family was certainly seated at Quorndon two descents before the reign of Edward I." [3]

Early History of the Farnan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Farnan research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1290, 1312, 1483, 1753, 1642, 1636 and are included under the topic Early Farnan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Farnan Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Farnan are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Farnan include: Farnham, Farnhams, Farnhan, Fearnham, Farneham and others.

Early Notables of the Farnan family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Richard Farnham (d. 1642), fanatic, "a weaver who came from Colchester to Whitechapel about 1636, where he and a fellow-craftsman, John Bull, announced that they were prophets inspired with ‘the...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Farnan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Farnan family to Ireland

Some of the Farnan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Farnan migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Farnan or a variant listed above:

Farnan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Farnan, who landed in New York in 1822 [4]
  • Eugene Farnan, who arrived in New York in 1828 [4]
  • Christopher Farnan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1860 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Farnan (post 1700) +

  • Joseph James Farnan Jr. (b. 1945), United States former federal judge from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Robert E. Farnan (1877-1939), American gold medalist rower at the 1904 Summer Olympics
  • Thomas A. Farnan, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County 20th District, 1906 [5]
  • Joseph James Farnan Jr. (b. 1945), American politician, U.S. District Judge for Delaware, 1985-2010; Retired 2010 [5]
  • Thomas Farnan (1914-1977), New Zealand association football player
  • James Thomas “Jim” Farnan (1875-1916), Australian rules footballer
  • Robert P. Farnan (1898-1962), Irish gynaecologist, farmer, and senator from County Kildare, President of the National Aberdeen Angus Association (1946 to 1960)
  • Michael Liam Farnan (b. 1941), Irish-born, Canadian former politician in Ontario

  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 1) . Retrieved from on Facebook