Gernegan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Gernegan is a name that was brought to England by the ancestors of the Gernegan family when they migrated to the region after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Gernegan family lived in Suffolk. "The surname, now rare, is found particularly in Suffolk where Little Stonham, also known as Stanham Gernagan (1244 Feet of Fines for Suffolk), was long held by the family of Hubert Jarnegan (1222 Feet of Fines for Suffolk). In [the Domesday Book of ] 1086  land was held in Stonham by Earl Alan and Iuichel the priest and there can be little doubt that Gernagan is a Celtic name brought over by the Bretons at the Conquest." 
Early Origins of the Gernegan family
The surname Gernegan was first found in Norfolk, where one of the first records of the name appeared as a forename: Jernegan Fitz-Hugh who was listed there in 1180. The surname was probably derived as someone who was "the son of Gernegan." Jernegan was anciently a Christian name that appeared in quite a few records. "The first that I meet with of this family was called Hugh, without any other addition, whose son was named Jernegan Fitz-Hugh, or the son of Hugh; he is mentioned in the Castle-Acre priory register, and he died about 1182."
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William Gernegon in Norfolk and Walter Gernegan in Suffolk.  The Jernegan spelling was used by Lord Stafford's ancestors until the 16th century when the name was changed to Jerningham. His successors took the baptismal name Jernegan as their surname. 
"A branch of the Jerningham family was established at Painswick, in Bisley hundred [in Gloucestershire]. Sir Henry Jerningham, the second Baronet of his family, married Mary, daughter of Benedict Hall, of High Meadow, Esq." 
Early History of the Gernegan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gernegan research. Another 181 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1222, 1550, 1762, 1571, 1547, 1553 and 1571 are included under the topic Early Gernegan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gernegan Spelling Variations
Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Gernegan have been found, including Jernegan, Jerningham, Jernygham, Jernigan, Jenningham, Jenningan and many more.
Early Notables of the Gernegan family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Henry Jerningham (d. 1571), an adherent of Queen Mary, the eldest son and heir of Sir Edward Jernegan of Huntingfield, Suffolk, by his second wife, Mary, daughter of Lord Scroop. The manor of Cossey (or Costessy), Norfolk, was granted him in 1547, and he thus became the founder of the Cossey branch of the Jernegan family, spelling the name Jerningham to distinguish his branch from the Somerleyton Jernegans. " He was the first to appear openly...
Migration of the Gernegan family
For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Gernegan were among those contributors: Thomas, Ellen and Mary Jermegan, who sailed to Maryland in 1637; Michael Jenningan to New York in 1820 and Jenny Jernegan to San Francisco in 1875.
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: Virtus basis vitae
Motto Translation: Virtue is the support of life.