Tannahill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

This Brythonic Celtic surname comes from the personal name Danet. This name is formed through the addition of the diminutive prefix -et to Dan, which is a pet form of the personal name Daniel. The initial D of the name was often sharpened to T, giving rise to the surname Tannahill.

Early Origins of the Tannahill family

The surname Tannahill was first found in Shropshire, where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Abertanat. This Welsh English border family claim direct descent from the great Einion Efell, Lord of Cynllathe in Denbighland, North Wales. Abertanat was a territory in Powys Fadog which was previously ruled by Owen Brongyntyn. Today, Afon Tanat (River Tanat) is a river in northern Powys, Wales. The Tanat Valley Light Railway (TVLR) was a 15-mile (24 km) long standard gauge light railway connecting Llangynog with Blodwel in Wales that was opened in 1903 and closed in January 1964.

Early History of the Tannahill family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tannahill research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 115 and 1150 are included under the topic Early Tannahill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tannahill Spelling Variations

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Tannahill have included Tanat, Tannat, Tanet, Tanett, Tanatt, Tannatt and many more.

Early Notables of the Tannahill family (pre 1700)

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


United States Tannahill migration to the United States +

North America in the 1800s and 1900s saw the arrival of many Welsh people hoping to share in the wealth of land, work, and freedom that they felt North America held. Those who made the journey often attained those expectations, but only through an enormous amount of hard work, perseverance, and often a bout of good luck. These immigrants helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and culture of both Canada and the United States. Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Tannahill:

Tannahill Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Tannahill, who landed in New York in 1840 [1]
  • J Tannahill, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [1]
  • Nellie K Tannahill, aged 31, who immigrated to America from Donegal, in 1894
Tannahill Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Janet Tannahill, aged 40, who landed in America from Paisley, Scotland, in 1908
  • Maggie Tannahill, aged 32, who settled in America from Coleraine, Ireland, in 1908
  • Margaret Tannahill, aged 26, who immigrated to the United States from Paisley, Scotland, in 1909
  • Mathew Tannahill, aged 35, who landed in America from Kilmamock, Scotland, in 1909
  • George Tannahill, aged 20, who settled in America from Kilmamoch, Scotland, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Tannahill migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Tannahill Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Margaret Tannahill, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "Escort"

New Zealand Tannahill migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Tannahill Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Tannahill, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Bengal Merchant
  • William Tannahill, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840

Contemporary Notables of the name Tannahill (post 1700) +

  • Mary Harvey Tannahill (1863-1951), American painter, printmaker, embroiderer and batik maker
  • Robert Hudson Tannahill (1893-1969), American art collector and benefactor from Detroit
  • Prof. Carol Elizabeth Tannahill O.B.E., British Director for Glasgow Centre for Population Health and Chief Social Policy Adviser for Scottish Government, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Public Health [2]
  • Robert Tannahill (1774-1810), Scottish poet, born at Paisley, known as the "Weaver Poet," eponym of the Scottish band The Tannahill Weavers
  • Donald Andrew Tannahill (b. 1949), Canadian retired professional NHL ice hockey player
  • Reay Tannahill (1929-2007), Scottish historian and novelist


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists


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