Venn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Venn family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Venn comes from when the family lived near a marsh or swamp. Another name for wetlands is fen, in the Old English fenn, from which this name is derived. [1] There are two place-names that may serve as sources for the name as well: Fen, in Lincolnshire, and Venn, in Devon.

Early Origins of the Venn family

The surname Venn was first found in Devon, where the family held a family seat from early times. The origins of the name make it likely that several branches of the Venn family emerged independently in different areas during the Middle Ages. The earliest known bearer of the name was Godwin de la Fenna, who was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1176. [2]

From this first record, records of the family were scattered. Thomas attefenne was a Templar Knight in Warwickshire in 1185, Ralph de

Fenne was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1190, Herveus del Fen was listed in Suffolk in 1190, John atte Venne was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327, and Walter en la Fenne was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1340. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 has two listings: Isabella ate Fenne, Oxfordshire; and Robert de la Fenne, Somerset. In Norfolk, John atte Fen was Bailiff of Yarmouth in 1377 and Thomas Fenn, was similarly bailiff of Yarmouth. [3]

The Close Rolls, like many early rolls listed entries in the relation to the year of the king's reign where the first number is the year, followed by the king's name. By example, John atte Fene, Close Rolls, 14 Edward III, denoted the entry was made in the fourteenth year of Edward III's reign. From this example, the reader can better understand Walter atte Fenne, Close Rolls, 1 Edward II; Thomas de Fenne, Close Rolls, 2 Edward I; and Roger atte Fenne, Somerset, 1 Edward III. [4]

Early History of the Venn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Venn research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1176, 1185, 1190, 1199, 1297, 1586, 1650, 1639, 1637, 1615, 1987, 1691, 1740, 1687, 1586, 1650, 1641, 1650 and 1723 are included under the topic Early Venn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Venn Spelling Variations

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 Venn has appeared include Fenn, Fenne, Fennoy, Fann, Fan, Venn, Fen and others.

Early Notables of the Venn family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: John Venn (1586-1650), English regicide, second son of Simon Venn of Lydiard St. Lawrence, Somerset; Sir Richard Venn or Fenn (died 1639), an English merchant and politician, Lord Mayor of London in 1637; and John Fenn (d. December 1615), an English Roman Catholic priest, writer and Catholic martyr, beatified in 1987. Richard Venn (1691-1740), was an English divine, born at Holbeton, Devonshire, the eldest...
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Venn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Venn migration to the United States +

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 Venn arrived in North America very early:

Venn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Venn, who landed in Maryland in 1674 [5]
Venn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ferdinand Venn, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1850 [5]

Australia Venn migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Venn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Ann Venn, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846 [6]

New Zealand Venn 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:

Venn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Venn, aged 17, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wairoa" in 1877
  • Mrs. Venn, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Tongariro" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 13th August 1887 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Venn (post 1700) +

  • Albert H. Venn (1867-1908), American silver medalist lacrosse player at the 1904 Summer Olympics
  • William H. Venn, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 1st District, 1894 [8]
  • Charles "Chucky" Venn (b. 1973), born Charles Venice, an English actor, known for his roles as footballers
  • Henry Venn (1725-1797), English evangelical minister and one of the founders of the Clapham Sect
  • John Venn (1759-1813), English clergyman, Rector of Little Dunham, Norfolk (1783-1792)
  • Henry Venn (1796-1873), English clergyman, honorary secretary of the Church Missionary Society from 1841 to 1873, campaigner of the Clapham Sect
  • John Archibald Venn CMG FSA JP (1883-1958), British economist, President of Queens' College, Cambridge, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, 1941–1943, son of John Venn
  • Kathleen Joan "Kath" Venn (b. 1926), former Australian politician from Tasmania
  • Harry Whittall Venn (1844-1908), Australian politician, Commissioner of Railways and Minister of Works from 1890 to 1896
  • Blair Venn, Australian actor, best known for his role on the television series Head Start
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Harold Stanley Venn, American 2nd Class passenger from San Francisco, California, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [9]


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846Hooghly.htm
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 16) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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