Venis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Venis 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 Venis family

The surname Venis 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 Venis family

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

Venis Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Venison, Veness, Venes, Venis, Venus, Vennison, Venoix and many more.

Early Notables of the Venis family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Venis family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Venis or a variant listed above were: Ben Venison who went to Virginia in 1654; or the unknown Venus who settled there in 1698. Elizabeth Venus and Elizabeth Venns were brought to the New World in bondage, in 1736.



  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)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook