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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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.


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.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tannahill research. Another 201 words (14 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.


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


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
  • J Tannahill, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Nellie K Tannahill, aged 31, who emigrated 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 emigrated 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
  • ...

Tannahill Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Margaret Tannahill, aged 18, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "Escort"

Tannahill Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

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

  • Mary Harvey Tannahill (1863-1951), American painter, printmaker, embroiderer and batik maker
  • Robert Hudson Tannahill (1893-1969), American art collector and benefactor from Detroit
  • Donald Andrew Tannahill (b. 1949), Canadian retired professional NHL ice hockey player
  • Reay Tannahill (1929-2007), Scottish historian and novelist
  • Robert Tannahill (1774-1810), Scottish poet, known as the "Weaver Poet", eponym of the Scottish band The Tannahill Weavers

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    Other References

    1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    2. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
    4. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
    5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    7. Rowlands, John, John Rowlands and Sheila Rowlands. Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1999. Print. (ISBN 080631620).
    8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
    9. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. Print.
    10. Davies, R. R. The Age of Conquest: Wales, 1063-1415. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
    11. ...

    The Tannahill Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Tannahill 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 14 May 2015 at 11:37.

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