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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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.


The surname Nanney was 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.

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.


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 and printed products wherever possible.


Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nanney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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

  • Charles Nanney, Miami Dade Police Department Major Warrants Bureau;American Professor for Criminal Justice, Florida International University
  • 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)
  • 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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    Other References

    1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    5. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    8. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
    9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
    10. 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.
    11. ...

    The Nanney Family Crest was acquired from the 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 27 October 2015 at 13:32.

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