Show ContentsJenifer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The notable Jenifer family arose among the Cornish People, a race with a rich Celtic heritage and an indomitable fighting spirit who inhabited the southwest of England. 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. As the population of medieval Europe multiplied, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. 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 is due to the greater influence of English bureaucracy and naming practices in Cornwall at the time that surnames first arose. 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 or yielding, and fawr, 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 Jenifer family

The surname Jenifer was first found in Cornwall, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the Jenifer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jenifer research. Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jenifer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jenifer 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 Jenifer family (pre 1700)

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

United States Jenifer migration to the United States +

Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Jenifer:

Jenifer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Margaret Jenifer, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [1]
  • Daniel Jenifer, who landed in Maryland in 1667 [1]
  • Sarah Jenifer, who arrived in Maryland in 1670 [1]
  • Jacob and Elizabeth Jenifer, to Maryland, in 1673

Contemporary Notables of the name Jenifer (post 1700) +

  • Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer (1723-1790), American politician and a Founding Father of the United States
  • Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer (1723-1790), American politician, Member of Maryland State Senate, 1777-81; Delegate to Continental Congress from Maryland, 1778-82; Candidate for Governor of Maryland, 1782, 1785 [2]
  • Daniel Jenifer (1791-1855), American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates, 1817-19, 1829-30; U.S. Representative from Maryland, 1831-33, 1835-41; U.S. Minister to Austria, 1841-45 [2]
  • Daniel Jenifer (1791-1855), 19th century U.S. congressman and minister to Austria, nephew of Daniel of St.Thomas Jenifer
  • Michael Jenifer Stone (1747-1812), American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates, 1781-83; U.S. Representative from Maryland at-large, 1789-91; District Judge in Maryland, 1791-1802 [3]
  • Jenifer Burrage Branning (b. 1979), American lawyer and politician, Member of the Mississippi State Senate (2016-)
  • Ms. Jenifer Elizabeth Sara Livingston B.E.M., British recipient of the British Empire Medal on 8th June 2018, for services to the community in County Armagh [4]
  • Jenifer Kopfman, American Associate Professor and Director of B.A. in Public Health at the College of Charleston
  • Jenifer Wymore, American actress and producer, best known for her role in White Mile (1994) and Last Man Running (2003)
  • Jenifer Ringer, American principal dancer for the New York City Ballet

  1. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from
  3. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from
  4. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 31 October 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018, on Facebook