Show ContentsVeness History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Veness surname is derived for the German words "Vogel," meaning "bird" and "Sang," meaning "song." The name is generally thought to be of nickname origin, that is, the original bearer of the name may have been a singer. Alternatively the name may have been of locative origin from a place where one could hear bird songs. The American surname Birdsong is a direct translation of the Germanic name Vogelsang.

Alternatively, the name could have been Norman, having derived from Venoix, near Caen which was held by the hereditary Marshals of the Stable of the Dukes of Normandy. [1]

Early Origins of the Veness family

The surname Veness was first found in Kent where in the year 1314, John Venesoun was listed in the Feet of Fines. [2]

Four brothers of this house are entered in Domesday: Robert de Hastings (see Hastings); Roger; Ceroid; and Gosfrid. The latter was the father of Gilbert, who, with his son John, was impleaded by Robert de Venoix and William de Hastings for the Office of Mareschal to the King, which, although it could not have been theirs by right of birth, they then held, and successfully maintained. John espoused the cause of the Empress Maud, and was rewarded on her son's accession with lands of great value in Wiltshire. [1]

Henry II. further confirmed the office of Lord Mareschal to the next heir, his son John, who accordingly bore the great gilt Spurs at the coronation of Coeur de Lion, and was succeeded by his brother William at that time one of the great potentates of the land in 1199. [1]

Early History of the Veness family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Veness research. Another 72 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1334, 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Veness History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Veness Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Veness are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Veness include Venison, Veness, Venes, Venis, Venus, Vennison, Venoix and many more.

Early Notables of the Veness family

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

United States Veness migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Veness, or a variant listed above:

Veness Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John and William Veness both sailed to America in 1832
  • L. W. Veness, aged 59, who immigrated to the United States, in 1893
  • Albt. Veness, aged 22, who landed in America, in 1895
Veness Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Alfred Edward Veness, aged 39, who immigrated to America, in 1903
  • Bertram F. Veness, aged 5, who immigrated to the United States, in 1903
  • Emilie Veness, aged 36, who landed in America from England, in 1903
  • Thomas Veness, aged 70, who landed in America from Swanson, in 1904
  • Thomas Veness, aged 74, who settled in America from Swindon, England, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Veness 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:

Veness Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • G. H. Veness, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Excelsior" in 1869 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Veness (post 1700) +

  • Sir David Christopher Veness CBE, QPM, British former senior police officer and United Nations official
  • Amy Veness (1876-1960), British film actress

  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. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 4th November 2011). Retrieved from on Facebook