Jennay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Jennay family arrived in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Jennay came from the personal name John. The feminine name Jenny was initially a masculine form and modification of the personal name Jenin.The Norman name Jennay descended from Guisnes near Calais in Normandy. The family name Jennay 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 Jennay family

The surname Jennay 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 Jennay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jennay 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 Jennay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jennay Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Jenney, Jennie, Jenny, Genny, Gennie, Gynney and others.

Early Notables of the Jennay 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 Jennay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Jennay family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Jennay or a variant listed above: John Jenney, his wife Sarah, their daughter Abigail, and son Samuel Jenney, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623, aboard the "Little James".



The Jennay 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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