Anglo-Saxon name. It comes from when a family lived near a marsh or swamp. Another name for wetlands is fen, in the Old English fenn, from which this name is derived. There are two place-names that may serve as sources for the name as well: Fen, in Lincolnshire, and Venn, in Devon.
Early Origins of the Fen family
Devon, where the family held a family seat from early times. The origins of the name make it likely that several branches of the Fen family emerged independently in different areas during the Middle Ages. The earliest known bearer of the name was Godwin de la Fenna, who was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1176.
Early History of the Fen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fen research.
Another 273 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1176, 1185, 1190, 1199, 1297, 1639, 1637, 1723, 1615, 1987, 1687, 1586, 1650, 1641 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Fen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fen Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Fen were recorded, including Fenn, Fenne, Fennoy, Fann, Fan, Venn, Fen and others.
Early Notables of the Fen family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Richard Venn or Fenn (died 1639), an English merchant and politician, Lord Mayor of London in 1637; John Fenn (died May 1723), an early 18th century English pirate who sailed with Captain Bartholomew Roberts; John Fenn (d. December 1615), an English Roman...
Another 51 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Fen family to the New World and Oceana
To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Fen family emigrate to North America:
Fen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Fen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Fen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Fen Family Crest Products