Johnsay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Johnsay is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The name Johnsay came from the given name John and the name literally means "son of John." The given name John is derived from the Hebrew name Johanan, which means Jehovah has favored. The name was extremely popular in the Middle Ages as a result of the numerous connections between the name John and the Christian Church.
Early Origins of the Johnsay family
The surname Johnsay was first found in Lincolnshire, where many of the ancient and leading houses of the family name claim descent originally from the house of FitzJohn in Normandy, particularly that of one of the leading branches and oldest, the Johnsons of Ayscough-Fee. 
Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list many of the name: Willelmus Joneson; Willelmus Johnson, 1379; Robertus Johanson; Juliana Jonesson; Ricardus Joneson; and Robertas Jonson. 
Early History of the Johnsay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Johnsay research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1375, 1503, 1572, 1637, 1629, 1675, 1644, 1713, 1680, 1689, 1659, 1719, 1689, 1719, 1688, 1775, 1682, 1735, 1717, 1719, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Johnsay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Johnsay Spelling Variations
The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Johnsay has been recorded under many different variations, including Johnson, Joneson, Jonson, Joynson and others.
Early Notables of the Johnsay family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Benjamin Jonson (1572-1637), an English playwright, poet, actor, and literary critic; Daniel Johnson (1629-1675), an English buccaneer born in Bristol, who sailed against the Spanish during the late 17th century becoming known among the Spanish as "Johnson the Terror"; Sir Nathaniel Johnson (1644-1713), an English soldier and a Member of Parliament for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1680-1689); Sir Henry Johnson...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Johnsay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Johnsay family to Ireland
Some of the Johnsay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Johnsay family
To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Johnsays were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: Alice Johnson, who settled in Virginia in 1635; as did Abraham Johnson in 1648; Benjamin Johnson, who immigrated to Barbados in 1660; Thomas Johnson, who sailed to St. John's, Newfoundland in 1666.
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- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)