Hanchett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Hanchett family

The surname Hanchett was first found in Hertfordshire 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 Hincksworth (Hinxworth or Hinkworth,) two men-at-arms holding from William d'Eau, a Norman Baron who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

Early History of the Hanchett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hanchett research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1732, 1737, 1745, and 1803 are included under the topic Early Hanchett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hanchett Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Hanchett, Handchett, Hanchet, Handshake, Hanshake, Handshay and many more.

Early Notables of the Hanchett family (pre 1700)

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


United States Hanchett migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Hanchett or a variant listed above were:

Hanchett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Hanchett, who settled in Boston sometime between 1620 and 1650
Hanchett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • A. Hanchett, who arrived in Louisiana in 1785
Hanchett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A. Hanchett, who arrived in San Francisco in 1852

Contemporary Notables of the name Hanchett (post 1700) +

  • William Hanchett, American author
  • Mary Hannah Hanchett (1830-1906), American temperance leader
  • Volney H. Hanchett, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Michigan State Senate 25th District, 1902 [2]
  • Luther Hanchett (1825-1862), American Republican politician, Member of Wisconsin State Senate, 1856-60; U.S. Representative from Wisconsin 2nd District, 1861-62 [2]
  • James J. Hanchett, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Oneida County 2nd District, 1856 [2]
  • Benton Hanchett (b. 1835), American politician, Mayor of Saginaw, Michigan, 1873-75; Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1876 [2]
  • Benjamin Sawtelle Hanchett (1868-1933), American Republican politician, Member of University of Michigan Board of Regents, 1911-27; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1916 [2]
  • A. H. Hanchett, American politician, Mayor of Hastings, Minnesota, 1857 [2]
  • Tom Hanchett, Assistant Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning of Cornell University


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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