Grenan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the name Grenan began soon after 1066 when the Norman Conquest of England occurred. It 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 Grenan family

The surname Grenan 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." [1] 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." [1]

Early History of the Grenan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grenan research. Another 163 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1273 and 1170 are included under the topic Early Grenan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grenan Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Grenan are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Grenan include Garnon, Garnons, Gernan, Gernon, Gernen, Garnham and many more.

Early Notables of the Grenan family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Grenan family to Ireland

Some of the Grenan 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.


United States Grenan migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Grenan, or a variant listed above:

Grenan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Grenan, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [2]
Grenan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Peter Grenan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1850 [2]


The Grenan 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: Nid cyfoeth
Motto Translation: Not wealth, but contentment.(Welsh.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ 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)


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