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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The name Tant first arose amongst the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from their having lived in the town of Taunton in the county of Somerset. The surname Tant is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. In the Middle Ages people often assumed the name of the place that they originally lived as their surname during the course of travel. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.

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The surname Tant was first found in Somerset at Taunton, a county town that dates back to at least the Bronze age and was later the site of an ancient Roman farm. The Saxon town even had its own mint and this was the site that King Ine of Wessex had an earthen castle built about 700. Records show the town was listed as Tantum in 737 and by the Domesday Book of 1086 the town was listed as Tantone. [1] The place name literally means "farmstead or village on the River Tone," having derived from the Celtic river-name. [2] The town has a most interesting history and we include it in part at this time. "This place was called by the Saxons Tantun, and subsequently Tawriton and Thoneton, from its situation on the river Thone or Tone. It is of great antiquity; and the discovery of several urns containing Roman coins, in the neighbourhood, has led to the conjecture that it existed in the time of that people. The earliest authentic accounts refer to the period of the heptarchy, when a castle was built here for a royal residence, by Ina, King of the West Saxons, who held his first great council in it, about the year 700. This castle was demolished by his queen Ethelburga, after expelling Eadbricht, King of the South Saxons, who had seized it. The manor is supposed to have been granted to the church of Winchester in the following reign; and another castle is said to have been built on the site of the former, in the time of William I., by the bishops of Winchester, who principally resided in the town for some years. At this period Taunton had a mint, some of the coins, bearing the Conqueror's effigy, being still in existence. In the reign of Henry VII., in 1497, Perkin Warbeck seized the town with its castle, which, however, he quickly abandoned on the approach of the king's troops." [3]

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Tant has appeared include Taunton, Tantone, Tanton and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tant research. Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 125 and 1250 are included under the topic Early Tant History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Tant Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Tant arrived in North America very early:

Tant Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Tant, who arrived in Maryland in 1656
  • John Tant, who landed in Maryland in 1678

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  • Jerry Tant, American Democrat politician, Chair of Clay County Democratic Party, 1950


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  10. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...

The Tant Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tant 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 24 February 2016 at 14:57.

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