Jenay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Jenay is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. Jenay is a name that comes from the personal name John. The feminine name Jenny was initially a masculine form and modification of the personal name Jenin.The Norman name Jenay descended from Guisnes near Calais in Normandy. The family name Jenay was brought to England after the Norman Conquest, when William the Conqueror gave his friends and relatives most of the land formerly owned by Anglo-Saxon aristocrats.

Early Origins of the Jenay family

The surname Jenay was first found in Suffolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Bredfield in that shire where they were granted land by Duke William for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. Conjecturally, they are descended from Peter who held his lands from Hervey de Bourges, tenant in chief. The village was rated in the Domesday Book Survey as a village, a Church and 3 oxen or teamlands. There is also a moated site which was known as Bradfield Castle, although the village is Bredfield. The name Jenney was descended from Guisnes near Calais in Normandy. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls had only entry for the family, that of Alan filius Jene in Lincolnshire and the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had the following in a variety of early spellings: Ricardus Gene; Thomas Genne; and Agnes Gine. All held land there at that time. [2]

Early History of the Jenay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jenay research. Another 93 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1563, 1330, 1460, 1477, 1623, 1636, 1644, 1565, 1583 and 1565 are included under the topic Early Jenay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jenay 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 Jenney, Jennie, Jenny, Genny, Gennie, Gynney and others.

Early Notables of the Jenay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Edward Jenney of Bredfield House; Sir William Jenny, one of the Judges of the King's Bench in 1477 and John Jenney, early American settler from Leyden in 1623 aboard the Little James. He built the original Jenney Grist Mill in Plymouth Colony in 1636 and was run by him until his death in 1644. Thomas Jenye ( fl. 1565-1583), was a rebel and poet, "whose name appears also as Jeny, Jenny, Jenninges, Genys, Genynges, seems to have been...
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jenay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Jenay family

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 Jenay or a variant listed above were: John Jenney, his wife Sarah, their daughter Abigail, and son Samuel Jenney, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623, aboard the "Little James".



The Jenay 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: Deus Mihi Providebit
Motto Translation: God will provide for me.


  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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