Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Jenkins Name
Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
This English/Welsh name is a patronymic surname (baptismal origin) meaning “the son of John” or “little John” deriving from the ancient personal (first name) John and the Dutch suffix kin. It was originally often spelled Jonkin, but the influence the French version of John, the given name Jehan, cause the name to begin with the letters JE instead of JO (like in Johnson). It technically translate to “John the younger”, and not necessarily “little John”. The name was first documented in the Domesday Book of 1086 AD, a survey of Wales and England ordered by William the Conqueror, but historians believe the name was present in England/Wales prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066 AD. The masculine male given named John was imported to Europe by Christian Crusaders returning from the Holy Land in the 1100s AD and was originally a Hebrew name meaning “god’s gift” or “Jehova has been gracious”, born by the biblical character John the Baptist (born late in the 1st century BC, died around 33 AD), a man who baptized Jesus Christ. One source asserts the family became established in Monmouthshire, Wales, where they held land and titles prior to the Norman Conquest of the eleventh century AD.
The name originated in Cornwall, a county in the south western point of England, but became popular in southern Wales. It is a Welsh and English name with Flemish and Dutch influence.
This page serve as an excellent resource and authority not only on the 14 Jenkins coats of arms or “family crests” (an erroneous and slightly misleading term, see disclaimer at the very bottom of this page), but also the Jenkins family history, Jenkins family tree, genealogy, and ancestry, as it is fairly comprehensive compared to other pages on the internet on this heraldic and genealogical topic for this surname. This is a good resource for the Jenkin Coat of Arms, Jenkin Family Crest, Jenkyns Coat of Arms, and Jenkyns Family Crest
Common spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Jenkin, Jenken, Jenkens, Jenkyns, Jankins, Jenkynn, Jenkynna, Junkin, Junkins, Jinkin, Jinkins, Jinkines, Jennkins, Jenkines, Jenikins, Jenkiins, and Jaenkins. It is claimed that the name variant Jenkin is for the branch of the family tree from the Devon-Cornwall area. It should be noted the Welsh form of the name is Siencyn. Other similar foreign names or foreign equivalents is Jenck (Dutch) and Jenks/Jenkens (Germany).
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Jenkins ranks 95th in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following eight states: Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Georgia.
The surname Jenkins frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (119th), Scotland (292nd), Wales (15th), Ireland (1,191st) and Northern Ireland (496th).
In England, it ranks highest in counties Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. In Wales, the Jenkins last name is most common in Cardiganshire and Glamorganshire. In Scotland, it ranks highest in county Moray. In Ireland, it ranks highest in Monaghan. In Northern Ireland, this surname is most popular/common in county Antrim.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (458th), New Zealand (124th), Australia (139th), and South Africa (1,008th).
The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “The usual explanation that Jenkins is a name of Flemish type, probably introduced by the Flemings who settled in numbers in South Wales in the reign of Henry I., is to some extent supported by the fact that the great home of the name is now in South Wales and Monmouthshire. It is singular, however, that the name, usually as Jenkin, should be numerous in Cornwall. Cornwall is very Welsh with reference to some of its most frequent names, such as Roberts, Phillips, Williams, Richards, Thomas, Jenkin, Harris, James, &c., which, in the intervening counties of Devon and Somerset are usually much less numerous. This close resemblance in family nomenclature between two isolated regions that possess a similar racial history is very remarkable” and “Jenkins it is said to be a name introduced by the Flemings who settled in South Wales in the reign of Henry I Its distribution, which much resembles that of Jenkins, supports this explanation. However, both names are now Welsh by appropriation for several centuries. Like many other Welsh names, it has only become a settled surname in comparatively modern times, and perhaps its adoption as such is more recent than in the case of most of the other names. Thus, whilst the Brecon family of Watkins carries its pedigree back four centuries, it has only possessed a settled surname for two centuries, the family names previously being Watkin, Rees, Price, etc”.
Early Bearers of the Surname
The earliest recorded bearer of this last name was Richard Janekyn who was documented in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296 AD. Richard Jenkins was documented in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Worcestershire in 1327 AD. In Kirby’s Quest, Adam Janekyn was recorded in county Somerset around 1327 AD. The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists four bearer sof this last name: Robertus Jonkinson, Alicia Jonkyn, Johanna Jonkyn-wyfm Johanne, and Jonkynson. David Jenkins (born 1582) who was a Welsh judge and royalist captured by the parliamentarian at Hereford and was in prison until he was released during the reign of King Charles II in 1660. A one Ralph Jenkinson was recorded at the Wills in Chester in 1602.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
The famous genealogist Bernard Burke’s book “The Landed Gentry” discusses one branch of this family: Jenkins of Bigton Hall and Jeninks of Charlton Hall.
Jenkins of Bicton Hall
Richard Palmer Jenkins was an Esquire of Bicton Hall and Abbey House in county Salop who was born in 1818 and was in the Bengal Civil Service. He married Sophia Mayne, widow of Horace Alyward. Burke traces the Jenkins genealogy of Jenkins ancestry back to Richard Jenkins who was born in Blandford, Dorset in 1621 who descended from a family of great antiquity in county York, England. He was an ambassador to Russia and the United Provinces, which he visited. Upon his return, he settled at Charlton Hill near Wroxeter, holding several employments under Lord Newport, the Lord Lieutenant of that county. In 1668, he married Mary, daughter and co-heir of Richard Bagot of Hargrave, and he died in 1697. He was succeeded by this son Thomas Jenkins, an Esquire of Abbey Forehate who in 1708, married Gertrude, daughter of Captain Richard Wingfeidl of Preston Brockhurst. They had the following children together: Richard, Thomas (married Rachel Leighton), Robert, and Emma (married John Jenkins). He served as High Sheriff in 1720 and passed away in 1739. He was succeeded by his son Richard. Richard was born in 1706. He first married Letitia, daughter of John Muckleston, and had two sons with her: Richard and John. He then married Emma, daughter of Sir Francis Charlton of Ludford and had a daughter with her named Mary Gertrude, who married Venerable Edward Browne. He was succeeded by his son John. This John Jenkins was an Esquire of Bicton who was born in 1749, and in 1759, married Emma, daughter of Thomas Jenkins and Rachel Leighton and had four children with her: Richard, William, Edward (married Elizabeth Ravenscroft of Wrexham), and Thomas (married Mary Hall of Macclesfield). He died in 1771 and was succeeded by his son Richard Jenkins, Esquire of Bicton, who was born in 1760 and in 1781, married Harriet Constantia, daughter of George Ravenscroft of Wrexham in county Denbight, and had six children with her: Sir Richard, Charles Edward Orlando (1789), Harriet Constantia (married Edward Gatacre), Elizabeth (married Robert Jenkins of Charlton Hill), Frances Mary Gertrude, and Letitia Emma Sally (married Reverend Charles Wingfield of county Montgomery). He died in 1797 and was succeeded by his son and heir, Sir Richard Jenkins. Sir Rochard was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and Director E.I.C. who was born in 1785 and married, in 1824, Elizabeth Helen, daughter of Hugh Spottiswoode. They had eight children together: Richard, Charles, Arthur, Edward Gordon, Emily (married Frederick Baring), Cecilia Harriot Theophila (married John Archibald Pym), Helen (married W. Sharman Turner), and Melanie (married W. Vansittart). The Jenkins Coat of Arms (often mistakenly called the Jenkins Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Or, a lion rampant reguardant sable, quartering Bagot and Muckleston. Crest: On a mural crown proper, a lion passant regardant or. Motto. Perge sed caute. This branch of the Jenkins family tree was seated at Bicton Hall and Abbey House, both close to Shrewsbury.
Jenkins of Charlton Hill
Charles Vanburgh Jenkins was Esquire of Charlton Hill in county Salop and a Major General in the army and a Colonel in the 19th Hussars. He fought in the battles of Maharajpore, Goojerat, Aliwal, and Chillianwallah. He was born in 1822 and succeeded his brother Edward in 1875. In 1847, he married Annette Louisa Robertina, daughter of Horace Aylward, Esq.) and had had issue with her: Robert Edward Arthur (Lieutenant in Benegal Staff Corps, married Hannah Turnbull, had son Charles Edward and daughter Rose Edith Annette), Edward Francis, Charles Bradford Harries (Lieutenant 19th Hussars), Mary Louisia, Annette Geraldine, Edith Augusta, Eleanor Maud, and Rachel Victoria. Burke traces the Jenkinks genealogy and ancestry back to Edward Jenkins, Esquire of Charlton Hill, son of Thomas and Rachael, who married Sarah, daughter of Reverend Richard Boycott and had issue: Robert, Robert Boycott, Emma Gertrude (married Francis Blith Harries of Benthall Hal), and Louisa Elizabeth Sarah. He was in the army and fought in the Revolutionary War in America. His heir was Robert Boycott Cressett Leighton Jenkins, Esquire of Charlton Hill who was born in 1781. He was a Major in the army and in 1808, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Jenkins of Bicton Hall, and he had five children with her: Edward Leighton (Bombay Civil Service) Charles Vanburgh, Robert (Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy, married Maria Catherine Hornby, had son Robert), Louisa Harriett, and Mary Elizabeth. The Jenkins Coat of Arms (often mistakenly called the Jenkins Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Or, a lion rampant regardant sable. Crest: On a mural crown proper a lion passant regardant or. Motto. Perge sed caut. This branch of the Jenkins family tree was seated at Charlton Hill in Shrewsbury in county Salop.
Another early bearer was Peter Jenkins who was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1649. He married a woman named Sarah and had two children with her: Sarah (Ripley) and Matthew. His son Matthew was born in Edgardown, Dukes, MA in around 1681. He married Mary Gardner and had the following issue with her: Thomas, Peter, Joseph, Benjamin, Bethiah (Bunker), Sarah, and Mary. His son Peter Jenkins was born in Nantucket, MA in 1710 and he married Abigail Gardner and later Christian Swain. He had the following issue: Jemima (Barnet), Matthew, Eunice, Abigail (Barney, Ebenezer (Starbuck), Tristram, Nathaniel, William, Mary (Coffin), and David. His son Tristram was born in the same town in 1745. He married Anna Macy and they had two issue: Judith (Coffin) and Peter. His son Peter Jenkins was born in 1775.
A one Thomas Jenkins was born in Coldred, Kent, England in 1545 and he had a son named William. William was born in the same town in 1580. He in turn had a son named Nicholas. This Nicholas Jenkins was born in Purleigh Essex in 1605 and he married a woman named Clemency. They had a son named Nicholas. This Nicholas was born in the same city in 1623 and he had four issue with her with Ann prior to his 1673 death in Cople Parish, Virginia in colonial America: Elizabeth, John, Ann (Duncan), and Mary Courtney. His son John Jenkins was born in Westmoreland, VA in 1568 and he married Martha Garner with whom he had six children: Ezekiel, Thomas, William, James, John II, and Samuel. His son Ezekiel was born in Cople, VA in 1695 and he married Mary Gunnell with whom he had numerous issue as follows: Elizabeth, Ezekiel, Mary, John, Elizabeth, Martha, William, Ann, Samuel, Charles, Simon, Thomas, Elizabeth (Brent), and Simon. His son Thomas was born in Fairfax, Virginia in 1745. He married Jemima Williams and had a son named Owen. Owen Jenkins was born in the same county in 1772. He married Ann Nancy Henderson and had a son with her named Jesse Mercer Jenkins. Jesse was born in Fork Shoals in South Carolina in 1816. He married Rebecca Reece and had a son with her named William Boyde. William Boyde Jenkins was born in South Carolina in 1846. He married Luvina Belle Conroe had a a son with her named Roy. Roy Clyde Jenkins was born in Trinidad, TX in 1894. He married Elizabeth Rice Stringer and had a daughter with her named Dolora Beth, who was born in 1917 in Texas and married into the Pike family. She passed away in 2006.
John Jenkins was born (likely in Wales) in 1625. He went to colonial America. He married Mary Ewer and Susanna Cooke and had four issue with her: Elizabeth, Zachariah, Job Cooke, and Thomas. His son Zachariah Jenkins was born in Sandwich, Massachusetts in 1561. Prior to his death in Rhode Island, with his with Abiah Allen, he had the following issue: Mary (Reynolds), Hannah (Reynolds), Abiah (Kingsley), Susanna (Gifford), John, Job Cook, Jebediah, Dinah (Whitford), Zehpaniah, Abigail (Tripp), Elizabeth, Receaa (Reynolds), and Sarah.
Early American and New World Settlers
John Jenkins was recorded in Virginia (“at Warwick Squeake”) was recorded in living in Virginia in 1623.
Jone Jenkins was recorded in Virginia (“at Elizabeth Cittie”) was recorded in living in Virginia in 1623.
Mary Jenkins was recorded in Virginia (“at Elizabeth Cittie”) was recorded in living in Virginia in 1623.
Edmond Jenkins, age 15, came to Virginia aboard the Safety in August 1635.
Elizabeth Jenkins, age 27, came to Virginia aboard the Truelove in September 1635.
Oliver Jenkin, age 40, came to Virginia around 1620
Joane Jenkin and her small child came to Virginia around 1620
Jane Jenkins came to New York aboard the Lixboa Merchant in September 1679.
Thomas Jenkynns, age 23, came to St. Christopher to Barbados in January 1634.
Joseph Jenkynn, age 26, came to New England aboard the Defence in 1635.
Walter Jenkyns, age 30, came to Virginia aboard the Constance in October 1634.
Morgan Jenkins, age 32, came to Barbados aboard the Expedition in November 1635.
Owen Jenkins came to Jamaica in 1679 aboard the Johns Adventure.
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions 11 bearers of this name:
1) Edward Jenkins or Jenkin, 1643, who came with Nathaniel Tilde, representative 1657, had son Thomas
2) Henry Jenkins, New Hampshire, died in 1670
3) Joel Jenkins, Braintree, had issue Lydia (1640) and Theophilus (1642), moved to Malden, died in 1660
4) John Jenkins of Plymouth, 1643, moved to Barnstable who married Mary Ewer in 1653 and had issue Sarah, Mehitable, Samuel, John, Mary, Thomas, and Joseph.
5) Lemuel Jenkins of Malden, 1671, married Elizabeth in 1670, daughter of Thomas Oakes and had children named Lemuel and Elizabeth
6) Obadiah Jenkins of Malden who, in 1677, married Mary Lewis, had issue Sarah (1685), Ann (1687), and Obadiah (1690). He was a freeman in 1690.
7) Reginald Jenkins, Dorchester 1630 is probably the person who moved to Cape Porpus, and was killed by Indians in 1632.
8) Reginald Jenkins, Kittery, submitted 1652 moved to Dover, married Ann of Philadelphia
9) Robert of Dover, 1657, called Junkins
10) Samuel Jenkins, Greenwich, 1672, who was likely married to Mary, widow of Eleazer Farmer or Dorchester
Other early settlers in colonial America bearing this name prior to the nineteenth century include Edward Jenkins (Virginia 1638), Ellinor Jenkins (North Carolina 1701), Jones Jenkins (North Carolina 1701), Jane Jenkins (Virginia 1714), Morris Jenkins and (Virginia 1717).
In Canada, one of the first settlers bearing this surname was Peter Jenkins who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 17778. In Australia, one of the earliest known bearers was Thomas Jenkins, a convict from Somerset, England, who came to Tasmania (then called Van Diemen’s Land) who came aboard the Arab in July of 1822. In 1837, a one William Jenkins came to Mana, New Zealand aboard the Louisa.
Early Americans Bearing the Jenkins Family Crest
I researched the following three resources and did not find any coats of arms for Jenkins: Bolton’s American Armory, Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook, and Crozier’s General Armory.
We have identified four Jenkins family mottoes:
1) Perge sed caute (Advance but cautiously) (Jenkins of Bicton)
2) Fidus ad finem
3) Nagpore (commemorative of military service at this place in India in 1817)
4) Seebuldee (commemorative of military service at this place in India in 1817)
We have 14 coats of arms for the Jenkins surname depicted here. These three 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 bore a Jenkins Coat of Arms include:
1) Roger Jenkyns of London, confirmed 3 June 1611 by Segar with six quarterings
There are hundreds of notable people with the Jenkins surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) David Abbott Jenkins (1883-1956) who was born in Spanish Fork Utah and was the 24th mayor of Salt Lake City, as well as a professional race car driver, 2) John Jenkins (died 1681) who was an English solider who came to American and served as governor of North Carolina (then called Albemarle) in the late seventeenth century, 3) Charles Jones Jenkins (1805-1883) who was Governor of Georgia, 4) Albert Jenkins (1895-1953) who was an international rugby player from Wales who was born in Llanelli considered to be one of the greatest players, 5) Albert Gallatin Jenkins (1830-1864) who was a farmer, attorney, US Congressmen, Confederate Congressmen, and Confederate General born in Cabell County, Virginia, 6) Chris Jenkins (1988) who was born in Swansea, Wales and is a light-welterweight boxer and the 31st Prizefighter champion, 7) Cullen Darome Jenkins (1981) who was born in Detroit, MI, attended Central Michigan University, and became a professional football player in the NFL playing four different teams (primarily the Green Bay Packers), 8) John Edward Jenkins (1838-1910) who was a Member of Parliament known for encouraging immigration to the Dominion of the British Empire (ex. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa), 9) Edgar Lanier Jenkins (1933-2012) who was a Democratic politician that served in the US House of Representatives for Georgia from 1977 to 1993, 10) Harold Lloyd Jenkins (1933-1993), better known as Conway Twitty, who was a legendary American country singer from Mississippi who was active primary in the 1960s and 1970s, and 11) Marilyn A. Jenkins (or Jenks) who was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1934 who became a catcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League for a team named the Grand Rapids Chicks.