While surnames were well-known during the English medieval period, Cornish People
originally used only a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames
came into common use is interesting. Under the Feudal
System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Patronymic
surnames were derived from given names and were the predominant type of surname among the Celtic peoples of Britain. However, the people of Cornwall
provide a surprising exception to this rule, and patronymic
surnames are less common among them than other people of Celtic stock, such as their Welsh
neighbors. This type of surname blended perfectly with the prevailing Feudal
System. One feature that is occasionally found in Cornish surnames of this type is the suffix -oe or -ow; this is derived from the Cornish plural suffix -ow. is a patronymic surname that came from the Welsh personal name Guinivere,
which is composed of the elements gwen,
which means fair, wyf,
which means smooth
which means large.
The word gin (as in the alcoholic drink) is a shortened form of the older English word genever, which was derived from the French word genièvre and the Dutch word jenever meaning juniper from the Latin word juniperus.
Early Origins of the Guinever family
The surname Guinever was first found in Cornwall
, where they held a family seat
from ancient times.
Early History of the Guinever family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Guinever research.Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Guinever History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Guinever Spelling Variations
Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations
. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and 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 of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England
, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations
often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall
and the rest of England
. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic
language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Jenifer, Jennifer, Jenefer, Genever, Genhaver and others.
Early Notables of the Guinever family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Guinever Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Guinever family to the New World and Oceana
A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Guinever: Margaret Jenifer, who sailed to Maryland in 1663; Daniel Jenifer in 1667; Sarah Jenifer in 1670; Jacob and Elizabeth Jenifer, also to Maryland, in 1673..
Guinever Family Crest Products