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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The history of the Gaunt family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived person who was "gaunt," [1] as in Shakespeare's character John of Gaunt in Richard II "Oh how my name befits my composition! Old Gaunt, indeed, and gaunt in being old." Another more credible origin of the name is having derived "from the town of Gaunt, now Ghent, in Flanders." [2] This source continues "Gilbert de Gand or Gant, a great Domesday tenant, was son of Baldwin, Earl of Flanders, whose sister William the Conqueror married." [2]


The surname Gaunt was first found in Kent where Richard le Gaunt was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1219. The same year Gilbert de Gaunt was listed in the same rolls in Lincolnshire. A few years later, Maurice le Gant was listed in the Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1225. [3] Another Maurice le Gant (died 1230) was the founder of Beverston Castle in Gloucestershire in 1225. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had numerous entries for the family: Hugh le Gant and John le Gant in Oxfordshire; Gilbert le Gaunt in Cambridgeshire; Robert le Gaunt in Lincolnshire; and Henry le Gaunt and Maurice de Gaunt in Somerset. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list: Willelmus Gaunte; and Petrus de Gaunt. [4]

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 Gaunt, Gant and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gaunt research. Another 191 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1219, 1340, 1399 and 1685 are included under the topic Early Gaunt History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gaunt 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 Gaunt or a variant listed above were:

Gaunt Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Peter Gaunt who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637
  • Robert Gaunt settled in Virginia in 1637
  • Peter Gaunt, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637
  • Rich Gaunt, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Robt Gaunt, who landed in Virginia in 1637

Gaunt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Richard Gaunt, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1820
  • John and Ann Gaunt, who came to New York State with seven children in 1823
  • William Gaunt, who landed in Mississippi in 1839
  • Leonard Gaunt, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1848
  • Joshua Gaunt, who came to America in 1865

Gaunt Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Gaunt, aged 28, arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Thetis"

Gaunt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Jane Gaunt, aged 20, a housemaid, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Douglas" in 1873


  • Sidney Clyde Gaunt (1874-1932), American typographer, and artist, responsible for hundreds of type fonts
  • John L. Gaunt (1924-2007), American Pulitzer Prize-winning (1955) photographer
  • Viva Gaunt (1892-1974), American Republican politician, Nurse; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1956
  • Sharon Gaunt, American Democrat politician, Chair of Isabella County Democratic Party, 2007
  • George W. F. Gaunt (1865-1918), American Republican politician, Member of New Jersey State Senate from Gloucester County, 1909-17; Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1916
  • Elisha Gaunt, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Burlington County, 1855-56
  • Alfred Calvin Gaunt (b. 1882), American Republican politician, Member of Massachusetts Governor's Council, 1947-48; Defeated, 1948
  • Miss Doris Winifred Gaunt (1896-2014), English First Class Passenger from Birmingham, England, United Kingdom who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland on May 29th 1914
  • John Gaunt, English airplane designer and build of the Gaunt biplane no.2 'Baby' which successfully flew in the summer of 1911
  • Genevieve Gaunt, English actress, best known for her role as Pansy Parkinson in the Harry Potter film Prisoner of Azkaban



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  1. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  4. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  11. ...

The Gaunt Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gaunt 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 3 November 2015 at 11:42.

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