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

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

The Welsh name Nanney can be traced back to when the Nanney family lived in the settlement of Nannau, which is in the county of Merioneth. The root of this place-name is probably the Celtic word "nant," which means "brook." The surname belongs to the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.


Compared to other ancient cultures found in the British Isles, the number of Welsh surnames are relatively few, but there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations. These spelling variations began almost as soon as surname usage became common. As a result, people could not specify how to spell their own names leaving the specific recording up to the individual scribe or priest. Those recorders would then spell the names as they heard them, causing many different variations. Later, many Welsh names were recorded in English. This transliteration process was extremely imprecise since the Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh used many sounds the English language was not accustomed to. Finally, some variations occurred by the individual's design: a branch loyalty within a family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The Nanney name over the years has been spelled Nanney, Nanny, Nannau, Nanphan and others.

First found in Merionethshire (Welsh: Sir Feirionnydd), made a county in Northwest Wales in 1284, and anciently part of the kingdom of Gwynedd, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nanney research. Another 167 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1578, 1691, 1767, 1718 and 1725 are included under the topic Early Nanney History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 61 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nanney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many Welsh joined the great migrations to North America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Like their Scottish and Irish neighbors, many Welsh families left their homeland hoping to find hope and prosperity in a land that the English did not exercise a tight rule over. Those Welsh immigrants that successfully traveled to North America went on to make significant contributions to the rapid development of both Canada and the United States in terms of the settling of land and the establishment of industry. They also added to the rich cultural heritage of both countries. An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Nanney:

Nanney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Robert Nanney who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1635


  • Herbert Boswell Nanney (1918-1996), American Professor Emeritus of Music and University Organist at Stanford University for 38 years
  • Lillian B. Nanney Ph.D., American Professor of Plastic Surgery, Medical Education and Administration and Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University
  • Adrian Nanney, American actor, known for his work on Lincoln (2012), Deadlands 2: Trapped (2008) and Border Town (2009)
  • Charles Nanney, American Professor for Criminal Justice, Florida International University
  • Wendy Kay Taylor Nanney (b. 1965), American Republican member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
  • Sir Hugh John Ellis- Nanney JP, DL, (1845-1920), 1st Baronet, Welsh landowner, magistrate and Conservative politician, High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire in 1870 and High Sheriff of Merionethshire in 1877


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  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  3. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Nanney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Nanney 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 2 March 2014 at 06:49.

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