An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Jernigan is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Jernigan family lived in Norfolk.
The surname Jernigan was first found in Norfolk, where one of the first records of the name appeared as a forename: Jernegan Fitz-Hugh who was listed there in 1180. The surname was probably derived as someone who was "the son of Gernegan." Jernegan was anciently a Christian name that appeared in quite a few records. "The first that I meet with of this family was called Hugh, without any other addition, whose son was named Jernegan Fitz-Hugh, or the son of Hugh; he is mentioned in the Castle-Acre priory register, and he died about 1182." The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William Gernegon in Norfolk and Walter Gernegan in Suffolk.  The Jernegan spelling was used by Lord Stafford's ancestors until the 16th century when the name was changed to Jerningham. His successors took the baptismal name Jernegan as their surname. 
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.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jernigan research. Another 361 words (26 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
Jernigan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
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.
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 19 February 2016 at 14:55.