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Nanfen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall in southwestern England provides the original birthplace of the surname Nanfen. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Nanfen history began in the village of Nanfan, in Cornwall. Members of the family were involved in the blacksmith trade and prior to the 18th century often went by the occupational name Trengove, from the Cornish words tren meaning strong, and angove, meaning smith. Many used the name Trengoff of Nance.

Early Origins of the Nanfen family

The surname Nanfen was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Nanfan some say at the time of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 by Duke William of Normandy.

Early History of the Nanfen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nanfen research.
Another 179 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nanfen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nanfen 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 Nanfan, Nanfant, Nantford and others.

Early Notables of the Nanfen family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Nanfen family to the New World and Oceana

A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Nanfen: John Nanfant who settled in Carolina in 1710; and Francis Nantford who settled in Barbados in 1672.

Nanfen Family Crest Products

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