Show ContentsTennien History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Scottish name Tennien was first used by someone who worked as a tenant farmer. The name was applied to those who paid for the rent on their land through working the fields and donating a percentage of the take to the landlord. 1 2 3 4

Early Origins of the Tennien family

The surname Tennien was first found in Linlithgowshire (Gaelic: Lodainn an Iar), former county in south-central Scotland, now the Council Area West Lothian, where they held a family seat at Crestone or Creston from about the year 1150 A.D.

Early records in Scotland include: William tenant of Crestone of county of Linlescu, 1296. His seal shows a large dog and 'S' Will'l Tenavont.' Thomas Tenaunt was one of the witnesses in the inquiry concerning the Templars in 1309, and John tenant was one of the garrison of Edinburgh Castle, (1339-1340.) John Tennand was one of the burgesses of Stirling who attacked the cruives and fishings of the abbot and convent of Cambuskenneth, 1366. 5

A little further to the south in England, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Willelmus Tenaunt; Johannes Tenant; and Ricardus Tenaunt. 6

The Subsidy Rolls of Cumbria (Cumberland) in 1332 included Richard Tenand and in the same year, Robert Tenaunt was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Lancashire. 7

Early History of the Tennien family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tennien research. Another 237 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1320, 1339, 1366, 1500, 1519, 1539, 1542, 1549, 1550, 1555, 1563, 1564, 1565, 1644, 1649, 1673, 1695, 1706, 1718, 1727, 1740, 1746, 1748, 1761, 1768, 1777, 1781, 1782, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1788, 1789, 1796, 1799, 1801, 1804, 1805, 1806, 1815, 1821, 1824, 1825, 1826, 1831, 1832, 1838, 1848, 1854, 1861 and 1869 are included under the topic Early Tennien History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tennien Spelling Variations

In the era before dictionaries, there were no rules governing the spelling or translation of names or any other words. Consequently, there are an enormous number of spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names. Tennien has appeared as Tennant, tenant, Tennand, Tennan, Tenman, Tennend, Tennent, Tenand and many more.

Early Notables of the Tennien family

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Tennent of Listonshiels (died c. 1549), a servant and companion of James V of Scotland; and William Tennent (1673-1746), an early American religious leader and educator in British North America. Born in Mid Calder, Linlithgowshire, Scotland, he graduated from the University of Edinburgh in...
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tennien Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Tennien family to Ireland

Some of the Tennien family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Tennien family

The freedom, opportunity, and land of the North American colonies beckoned. There, Scots found a place where they were generally free from persecution and where they could go on to become important players in the birth of new nations. Some fought in the American War of Independence, while others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these Scottish settlers have been able to recover their lost national heritage in the last century through highland games and Clan societies in North America. Among them: Christopher Tennant, who settled in Virginia in 1635; David, Judith and Rebecca Tennant, who all arrived in Charlestown, S.C in 1766; Robert Tenman, who came to Virginia in 1635.

The Tennien Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Plena Dabit Deus Vela
Motto Translation: God will fill our sails.

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  5. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X) on Facebook