Tonnis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Tonnis was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Tonnis family lived in Toesny, "in the commune of Gaillon, arrondissement of Louviers, Normandy. Six of this name are on the Dives Roll; Raoul, Robert, Juhel, Ibert, Berenger, and Guillaume ; but Juhel is inserted by mistake, for he was named De Toteneis, or Totness, from his Devonshire barony. Raoul or Ralph de Toeni- called by Wace De Conches (from his barony of Conches, near Evreux, where his father Roger had founded an abbey),was the Hereditary Standard Bearer of Normandy, and, as such, offered the honour of bearing the consecrated banner at the battle of Hastings." [1]

"The De Toenis were 'royal, descended from an uncle of Rollo; ' and one of the greatest houses in Normandy. Ralph de Toeni was among Duke William's chief barons, and 'through the malicious suggestion of some who bore a grudge towards him' had been at one time expelled from the Duchy, but by 'the intercession of Friends' reinstated in his estates and office of standard-bearer. He appears as a great landowner in Domesday, and though his principal estates were in Norfolk, chose Flamstead in Hertfordshire as his chief residence." [1]

Early Origins of the Tonnis family

The surname Tonnis was first found in Leicestershire where Ralph de Toni received lands of the Lordship of Belvoir for his services as Standard bearer at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Further to the south and west in Cornwall, "the manor of Helston-Tony [in the parish of Helston] belonged at an early period to a family called Tony. From this family it passed by a female heir to the Beauchamps." [2]

Early History of the Tonnis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tonnis research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1763 and 1510 are included under the topic Early Tonnis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tonnis Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Tone, Toney and others.

Early Notables of the Tonnis family (pre 1700)

Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tonnis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Tonnis family to Ireland

Some of the Tonnis 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 Tonnis family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Tonnis or a variant listed above: Richard Tone who settled in Virginia in 1649; Patrick Toney arrived in Philadelphia in 1876; followed by John in 1877.



  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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