Lennon Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Lennon is an Anglicized version of the old Gaelic names O’Leannain or O’Lonain. In either case the name Lennon would be considered patronymic. O’Leannain would apply to a descendant of a person with the given name Leannan which translates to “small or little cloak”. O’Lonain would apply to a descendant of a person with the given name Lonan which translates to “blackbird”.

Surnames, as can be noted from the information above, often were adapted from wide variety of sources, from a person’s occupation or topographical landmark found near the individual’s home or birthplace, or possibly from the name of the village in which the person lived or was born. Surnames were sometimes patriarchal or matriarchal, created by combining the person’s given name plus the name of their father or mother. In some instances surnames were also created from defining physical traits; such as a person’s hair color, eye color, height, among other things.

While the use of surnames was a common practice in medieval France among the aristocracy, it was not until after the mid-sixteenth century that it became commonplace in the British Isles and across the remainder of Europe. The small size of the settlements and villages which existed during the earlier periods across most of Europe often meant there was no need for surnames as everyone within these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, the Norman aristocracy’s penchant for using surnames was found to serve several practical purposes; it allowed people the ability to distinguish themselves, one from another, and it gave the government a reliable way to track people for tax, census, and immigration purposes.

The task of record keeping was primarily under the jurisdiction of the Church, local priories, and the government. This was due in large part to the fact that literacy was a skill usually found only among the nobles, the clergy, and government officials and scribes. Even so, there often existed multiple variations of names which may be attributed to a number of factors; the origins of the surname, the lack of guidelines which existed for spelling, and the fact that many scribes who were charged with record keeping spelled phonetically, among other things. One of the earliest records of anyone bearing the surname or any variation of its spelling is that of Teag O’Lennon found in Assize tax rolls dated 1380. Some other early variations of the name include; Lennon; O’Lennon; O’Lennan; Lennane, Linnane; and Leonard among others.

With the discovery of America and the addition to the British Commonwealth of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, it was not long before people began to immigrate to these outlying areas. The use of surnames made tracking of immigrants easier. Some of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname was William Lennon who landed and settled in Virginia in 1635. Patrick Lennon was one of the early settlers to Canada, landing and settling in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834. James Lennon was one of the early settlers to Australia, landing in Adelaide in 1839 and Edward Lennon landed and settled in Auckland, New Zealand in 1879.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Lennon are found in Ireland, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Lennon live in Florida, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

There are many persons of note with the surname such as British born, John Winston Lennon. Lennon was a singer, songwriter, poet, and founding member or the pioneering musical group, The Beatles. Lennon has had a part, either independently or with his one time writing partner Paul McCartney, in writing several of the most recognized and significant songs of the 20th century. Among his multitude of honors, Lennon has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

American born, John Robert Lennon, is a noted author, writer of short stories, musician and composer. Lennon has been the recipient of several awards for his writing and has released a number of well received recordings of original music.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Reg. Ulster’s Office). Ar. on a mount in base vert a buck browsing ppr. Crest—On a mount vert a buck browsing ppr. Motto—Prisco stirpe Hibernico.

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