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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Where did the English Guernsey family come from? What is the English Guernsey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Guernsey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Guernsey family history?

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Guernesy, Gourneys, Gurnsey and others.

First found in Hampshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Ansneville, a commission of Duke William in 1050 from the island of Guernsey, taken by pirates in the island hand who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Guernsey research. Another 203 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1061 and 1066 are included under the topic Early Guernsey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Guernsey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Guernsey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • James Guernsey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1849
  • S W Guernsey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

Guernsey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Hosea B Guernsey, who arrived in Canada in 1833
  • John Guernsey, who arrived in Canada in 1841

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  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. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Guernsey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Guernsey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 23 January 2016 at 11:17.

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