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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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. There are two place-names that may serve as sources for the name as well: Fen, in Lincolnshire, and Venn, in Devon.

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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.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Venn research. Another 273 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1176, 1185, 1190, 1199, 1297, 1639, 1637, 1723, 1615, 1987, 1687, 1586, 1650, 1641 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Venn History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 187 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Venn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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

Venn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Ferdinand Venn, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1850

Venn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Ann Venn arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846

Venn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Catherine Venn, aged 17, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wairoa" in 1877

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  • William H. Venn, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 1st District, 1894
  • Mr. Harold Stanley Venn (d. 1915), American 2nd Class passenger from San Francisco, California, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Albert H. Venn (1867-1908), American silver medalist lacrosse player at the 1904 Summer Olympics
  • 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, 19411943, 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

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  1. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  4. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Venn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Venn Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 October 2015 at 12:44.

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