Gernan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The ancient name Gernan is a Norman name that would have been developed in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. This name was a name given to a person who had a moustache. The name was originally derived from Old English words gernon or grenon, which meant moustache.
Early Origins of the Gernan family
The surname Gernan was first found in Montfiquet, in the district of Bayeux. Robert de Guernon accompanied the William the Conqueror at Hastings in 1066 A.D. Robert held estates in Herefordshire, Suffolk, and a great barony in Essex. Another early notable of the family was Ranulf II (also known as Ranulf de Gernon) (1099-1153), a Norman-born, potentate who inherited the honour of the palatine county of Chester. He claimed descent from the Counts of Bessin in Normandy.
Thoydon-Garnon in Essex was and ancient homestead of the family. "The parish takes the adjunct to its name from the family of Gernon, who were anciently its proprietors."  Great and Little Birch in Essex was an ancient family seat. "Birch Castle was fortified against Henry III. by Sir Ralph Gernon, then lord of the manor: there are still some remains." 
Early History of the Gernan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gernan research. Another 163 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1273 and 1170 are included under the topic Early Gernan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gernan Spelling Variations
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Garnon, Garnons, Gernan, Gernon, Gernen, Garnham and many more.
Early Notables of the Gernan family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Gernan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gernan family to Ireland
Some of the Gernan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gernan family
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Gernan or a variant listed above: Roger Garnons, who sailed to America in 1658; Judith Garnon to America in 1763; William Garnons to America in 1770; and Richard Gernon to Philadelphia in 1797..
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: Nid cyfoeth
Motto Translation: Not wealth, but contentment.(Welsh.
- Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.