Gentry History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Gentry family

The surname Gentry was first found in Hampshire, where they held a family seat since the Norman invasion of 1066. The name Gentry comes from the Old French word "gent," meaning "well-born" or "noble." [1] [2]

It could be a literal name, referring to someone who actually was well-born, or it may have been an ironic nickname, for someone who put on airs of aristocracy.

One of the oldest records of the family was found in Winmarleigh, a township in Lancashire with one of the older spellings used by the family. "In the reign of Henry III. lived a Gregory de Winnerlie or de Wimerlegh. In the 17th of Edward III., [(17th year of Edward III's reign)]Robert de Plesyngton received a fine from Thomas le Gentyll and his wife and son, for a moiety of the manor of Wynmerles." [3]

Other early record of the family were found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: William le Gentil in Yorkshire and Robert le Gentill, or Gentyl in Wiltshire. [1] John le Gentyl, was listed in Somerset during the first year of Edward III's reign [4] and in the 4th year of Edward II's reign William le Gentil was listed on the Patent Roll. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list: Agnes Gentildoghter and Johannes Gentill. [1]

Early History of the Gentry family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gentry research. Another 35 words (2 lines of text) covering the years 1202 and 1242 are included under the topic Early Gentry History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gentry Spelling Variations

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 Gentle, Gentles, Gentile, Jentle, Gentry and others.

Early Notables of the Gentry family (pre 1700)

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

United States Gentry migration to the United States +

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 Gentry or a variant listed above were:

Gentry Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Nicholas Gentry, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 [5]
Gentry Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Gentry, who arrived in New York in 1862
  • Elizth Gentry, aged 16, who landed in New York in 1862 [5]
  • Ada Gentry, aged 21, who landed in America from Woolwich, in 1892
Gentry Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Carrie H. Gentry, who immigrated to the United States, in 1903
  • Dorsey Gentry, who landed in America, in 1919
  • George Gentry, aged 0, who immigrated to the United States, in 1919
  • Edwin Gentry, aged 20, who settled in America, in 1920
  • Emily Gentry, aged 31, who landed in America, in 1922
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Gentry migration to Australia +

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

Gentry Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Robert Gentry, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad" [6]

New Zealand Gentry 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:

Gentry Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Gentry, aged 26, a brickmaker, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
  • Mary Ann Gentry, aged 26, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849

Contemporary Notables of the name Gentry (post 1700) +

  • Bobbie Gentry (b. 1944), stage name Roberta Lee Streeter, an American country singer, probably best known for her song Ode to Billie Joe (1967) and her 11 singles that reached the Billboard Hot 100
  • Troy Gentry (1967-2017), American country music singer, co founder of Montgomery Gentry; he was killed in a helicopter crash
  • Minnie Gentry (1915-1993), born Minnie Lee Watson, an American actress, great grand mother of actor Terrence Howard
  • Robert V. Gentry (b. 1933), American nuclear physicist and young Earth creationist, member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
  • Robert Gentry (b. 1940), American actor, known for his role as Ed Bauer on Guiding Light
  • Loyd Gentry Jr. (b. 1925), American horse trainer, best known for training Proud Clarion to win the 1967 Kentucky Derby; he had 12 other major wins in his career
  • Curt Gentry (b. 1931), American writer, recipient of the Edgar Award (1975) from the Mystery Writers of America
  • Herbert Gentry (1919-2003), African American Expressionist painter
  • Alwyn Howard Gentry (1945-1993), American botanist and plant collector
  • Gary Edward Gentry (b. 1946), American former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 15th March 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Hyderabad 1854. Retrieved on Facebook
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