Genay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Genay came to England with the ancestors of the Genay family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the personal name John. The feminine name Jenny was initially a masculine form and modification of the personal name Jenin.The Norman name Genay descended from Guisnes near Calais in Normandy. The family name Genay was brought to England after the Norman Conquest, when William the Conqueror gave his friends and relatives most of the land formerly owned by Anglo-Saxon aristocrats.

Early Origins of the Genay family

The surname Genay was first found in Suffolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Bredfield in that shire where they were granted land by Duke William for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. Conjecturally, they are descended from Peter who held his lands from Hervey de Bourges, tenant in chief. The village was rated in the Domesday Book Survey as a village, a Church and 3 oxen or teamlands. There is also a moated site which was known as Bradfield Castle, although the village is Bredfield. The name Jenney was descended from Guisnes near Calais in Normandy. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls had only entry for the family, that of Alan filius Jene in Lincolnshire and the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had the following in a variety of early spellings: Ricardus Gene; Thomas Genne; and Agnes Gine. All held land there at that time. [2]

Early History of the Genay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Genay research. Another 93 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1563, 1330, 1460, 1477, 1623, 1636, 1644, 1565, 1583 and 1565 are included under the topic Early Genay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Genay Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Jenney, Jennie, Jenny, Genny, Gennie, Gynney and others.

Early Notables of the Genay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Edward Jenney of Bredfield House; Sir William Jenny, one of the Judges of the King's Bench in 1477 and John Jenney, early American settler from Leyden in 1623 aboard the Little James. He built the original Jenney Grist Mill in Plymouth Colony in 1636 and was run by him until his death in 1644. Thomas Jenye ( fl. 1565-1583), was a rebel and poet, "whose name appears also as Jeny, Jenny, Jenninges, Genys, Genynges, seems to have been...
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Genay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Genay family

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Genay name or one of its variants: John Jenney, his wife Sarah, their daughter Abigail, and son Samuel Jenney, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623, aboard the "Little James".



The Genay Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Deus Mihi Providebit
Motto Translation: God will provide for me.


  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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