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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Jernigan family come from? What is the English Jernigan family crest and coat of arms? When did the Jernigan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Jernigan family history?

Jernigan is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Jernigan family lived in Norfolk.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Jernigan are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Jernigan include Jernegan, Jerningham, Jernygham, Jernigan, Jenningham, Jenningan and many more.

First found in Norfolk, where they held a family seat from the 12th century.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jernigan research. Another 297 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1222, 1550, and 1762 are included under the topic Early Jernigan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Jernigan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Jernigan, or a variant listed above:

Jernigan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Aaron Jernigan (1813-1891), the first settler of Orange County, Florida who arrived there from Georgia in 1843, eponym of Jernigan, Florida, honored as "Orlando's first settler"

Jernigan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Harry Jernigan, aged 21, who settled in America, in 1917
  • Wade F. Jernigan, aged 32, who emigrated to America, in 1919
  • Clarence Jernigan, aged 19, who emigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • Johni Jernigan, aged 21, who emigrated to the United States, in 1921
  • W. F. Jernigan, aged 35, who landed in America, in 1922


  • Jerrel Jernigan (b. 1989), American NFL football wide receiver for the New York Giants
  • Tamara Elizabeth "Tammy" Jernigan (b. 1959), American scientist & former NASA astronaut with over 1,512 hours in space, she flew on five space shuttle missions
  • Kenton Jernigan, American squash player in the 1980s and 1990s who won the US national singles title three consecutive times (1983 to 1985)
  • Norman Kenneth Jernigan (1926-1998), American blind civil rights activist, leader of the National Federation of the Blind
  • Gerald D. Jernigan (1942-2006), American politician, Mayor of the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan (1987 to 1991)
  • Doug Jernigan (b. 1946), American musician, inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1994
  • Dennis Jernigan (b. 1959), American Christian singer-songwriter
  • Aaron David Jernigan (1813-1891), the first white settler of what is now Orange County, Florida


  • Jernigan Reunion by Lillian Jernigan Worley.

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: Virtus basis vitae
Motto Translation: Virtue is the support of life.


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  1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  2. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  3. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  11. ...

The Jernigan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Jernigan Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 20 May 2015 at 14:21.

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