Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Ennis Name
Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
This Celtic/Gaelic last name is locational one given to a person who lived on or near an island or peninsula. The Welsh version is Ynys. Another source claims this surname is a contraction of the Irish surname MacGennis, McGinnis, McEnnis, or McGuinness, a family founded by Irial, son of Conal Kearnach, a renowned warrior. The head chieftain was the McEnnis, or McGinnis, Prince of Dal Aradie and Iveagh. The ancient name Innis signifies “Distress”. The MacGinnis family held wide possessions in the present Counties of Donegal and Londonderry. The family tribe name was MacAongusa, or Clan Hugh. One source claims the name was first found in Cornwall at the village of Ennis, and in Ireland it was first county in Kildate, Meath, and Offaly, and derives from the Gaelic name personal (first) Angus or aAonghuis (a given name that means “unique choice”). Spelling variations include Enys, Ennys, Eynes, Enos, Ennos, Ennes, and O’Hennis. It is also a variant of the Scottish and Manx (Isle of Man) last name Innes. Ennes.com provides the following interesting historical fact: “Ennis, a town in County Clare, Republic of Eire, is the result of an Englishman trying to pronounce Gaelic–this time the word “inis” meaning island”. Is it possible this name is related to the French surname Dennis?
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name ranks Ennis ranks 2,061st in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following five states: Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Alabama. The name is more common in England where it ranks 2,520th. It ranks highest in the three following counties: Lancashire, Cumberland, and Worcestershire. The name is common throughout the English speaking world: Scotland (), Wales), Ireland (275th), Canada (2,605th), New Zealand (3,939th), Australia (3,064th), and South Africa (19,321st).
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
Alexander Ennes or Innes was born in Morayshire, Scotland in 1632. He married a woman named Catherine and had two children with her: William Sr. and William Ennist. Alexander died in 1679 in Rhode Island. His son William was born in 1670 in Rhode Island and married Cornelia Arenta Viervant Brink in New York and had the following issue with her: Alexander, Cormelis, Cornelius, Catherine, Janetje, Alexander, Wilhem, and John. His son Cornelius was born in 1698 in Marbleton, NY. He married Marytje Van Etten Bosch and had four children with her: Wiljeim, Jenettjin, Jan, and Cornelius.
A one William Ennis was born in 1613 and married Percis Johnson. Prior to his death in Old Somerset in Maryland, he had several issue: Cornelius, Mary Percy, Nathaniel, Prothenia, Samuel, William, and Frances Bethany. His son Samuel married a woman named Mary Smith and had a son with her name Cornelius. This Cornelius was born in 1655 and he married Elizabeth Smith, with whom he had the following issue: Elizabeth, John, Cornelius II, Samuel, and Ann. Cornelius II was born in 1720 and he married Sarah Wright in 1740. They had a son together named Cornelius Ennis III. He was born in 1740 and in 1776 he married Esther Outten. They had three issue together: Esther, Peter, and Outten. His son Outten was born in 1776 and he later married Margaret Gladden. They had the children named Isaac, James, Richard, Mlathias, Outten, and Covington. His son Isaac was born in 1799 in Berlin, MD. He married Margaret Atkinson in 1824 and had the following issue with her: Joshua, Elizabeth (Richardson), Isaac, Mathis, James, Covington, William Handy, and Sarah (Hornbeck). His son Joshua Ennis was born in the same town in 1825. He married Sarah Elizabeth Kelly and had the following children with her: Anna Jeanette, William James, Charles Orin, John B., Mathew, Martha J., Isaac Samuel, George Joshua, Dora Ann, Emery, and Seba Arthur. His son George was born in 1865 in Menard, Illinois. He married Mary Maud Erwin and had a daughter with her named Beulah.
A one Thomas Annis (formerly Ennis) was born in Taunton, Massachusetts in 1664. He married Jannetje Francois le Sueur and had three issue with her: Rachel, Helena, and Jannetjen Thomas.
Early American and New World Settlers
A one William Ennis came to Virginia from the port of London in August of 1635 aboard the Globe. Other early bearers in colonial America include James Ennis (Virginia 1650), William Ennis (Maryland 1650), Alexander Ennis (Boston 1651, a Scotch prisoner deported by Oliver Cromwell), John Ennis (Boston 1716), Richard Ennis (Maryland 1723), and Michael Lewis Ennis (Pennsylvania 1812).
The Ennis family motto is Virtute et valore, meaning “By virtue and valour”.
We have two coats of arms for the Ennis surname depicted here. These two blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that had armorial bearings include:
Famous people with this last name include: 1) Delmer Ennis (1925-1996) who was an American baseball player who spent most of his career with the Philadelhpia Phillies in Major League Baseball, 2) Seamus Ennis (1919-1982) who was an Irish musician and singer, 3) Garth Ennis (1970) who is an American comic book writer of Northern Irish descent, and 4) Bruce C. Ennis (1939) who is an American politician who was a member of the Delaware Senate and House of Representatives.
Ennis Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Ennis blazon are the lion’s head, estoile and saltire. The two main tinctures (colors) are argent and azure.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli . Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” .
There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. The head of the lion also appears alone on many coats of arms, but its use in this form is largely to enable a clear difference from similar arms that use the complete animal, and its significance should be taken to be the same as the lion entire, being a symbol of “deathless courage”.
There were of course many widely recognised symbols that existed long before the advent of heraldry and it should be no surprise that some of these were adopted as charge in coats of arms . The estoile is a typical example, reflecting the stars in the sky and represented with six wavy points, often with a little shading to give it some depth. . The ancient writer Guillim assigns these symbols as the emblems of God’s goodness”.
The saltire is one the major ordinaries, large charges that occupy the whole of the field . Arguably one of the best uses of this device is that of the St. Andrews Cross, a white saltire on a blue background found on the Scottish flag. The saltire is obviously closely related to the Cross, and Wade in his work on Heraldic Symbology suggests additionally that it alludes to “Resolution”, whilst Guillim, an even more ancient writer, somewhat fancifully argues that it is awarded to those who have succesfully scaled the walls of towns!