Greenan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Greenan belongs to the early history of Britain, it's origins lie with the Anglo-Saxons. It is a product of their having lived in the chapelry of Greeham in the parish of Thatcham in the county of Berkshire. The place-name is derived from the Old English Greenham, which refers to either a green river-bed or a green homestead. [1]

Alternatively, the name could have been derived from Greenham, a tything, in the parish of Ashbrittle, union of Wellington, hundred of Milverton in Somerset. [2]

Greenan Castle is a 16th century tower house, around 2.5 miles south-west of Ayr in South Ayrshire, Scotland

Early Origins of the Greenan family

The surname Greenan was first found in Somerset, where Simon de Gryndham was listed in the Assize Rolls for 1268. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Ralph de Greneham, Suffolk and Ralph de Grenham was also listed in Suffolk, 20 Edward I: Placita de Quo Warranto, temp. Edward I-III. [4]

Early History of the Greenan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greenan research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1535, 1594, 1535, 1559, 1564, 1567 and are included under the topic Early Greenan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greenan Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Greenan include Greenham, Greenam, Greenum and others.

Early Notables of the Greenan family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Ralph Greenham of Suffolk; and Richard Greenham or Grenham (1535?-1594), an early Puritan Minister, at Dry Drayton, Cambridgeshire. He "was probably born about 1535, and went at an...
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Greenan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Greenan family to Ireland

Some of the Greenan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Greenan migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Greenan were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Greenan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John P Greenan, who arrived in New York in 1833 [5]
  • James Greenan, who landed in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1853 [5]
  • Thomas Greenan, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1857 [5]
  • Francis Greenan, who arrived in Iroquois County, Illinois in 1888 [5]

Canada Greenan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greenan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Catherine Greenan, aged 4 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Virginias" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [6]
  • Mr. James Greenan, aged 35 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Lady Campbell" departing from the port of Dublin, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in September 1847 [6]
  • Mrs. Mary Greenan, aged 50 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Free Trader" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Greenan (post 1700) +

  • Terisa Greenan (b. 1967), American film producer, film director, writer and actress
  • Russell H. Greenan (b. 1925), American author
  • Kiloran "Laurie" Greenan (b. 1947), American wardrobe supervisor, costume maker and designer, often referred to as the Queen of Heavy Metal
  • James Owen Greenan (1888-1952), American Republican politician, Mining engineer; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Nevada, 1940 [7]
  • Gerard Greenan, Canadian politician, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, Attorney General and Minister of Education (2007-)


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, 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)
  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. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 31)
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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