England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Heningfield family lived in Essex. Their name, however, is a local reference which indicates that the original bearer lived at or near a field belonging to someone by the name of Hand, hence Handfield. It is one of a number of names such as Handforth, Handford, Hanfirth, Hanfield, Handsacre, Handsworth, all of which derive from this source. The surname Hand comes from the Old English honde, and was a nickname used to identify a person by a peculiarity of the hands, such as size, great skill, or agility.
Early Origins of the Heningfield family
Essex where they were conjecturally descended from Ralph FitzThorold, who held the lands and villages of east, south, and west Hanningfield.
Early History of the Heningfield family
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Heningfield Spelling Variations
spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Handfield, Hanfield, Haningfield, Hangefield, Havingfield and many more.
Early Notables of the Heningfield family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Heningfield family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Heningfield or a variant listed above: Thomas Handfield who settled in Maryland in 1741.
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