Parents of Edmund Fanning 1620-1683 the Immigrant Fanning Ancestor?

Who were the parents of Edmund Fanning of Stonington Connecticut and what is his Irish ancestry??

Location map of Connecticut, USA
Location map of Connecticut, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of folk in America and probably Canada as well can trace their family tree back to Edmund Fanning who was born in Ireland about 1620 and died in Connecticut in 1683.

DNA tests as well as family documents have proved these lineages.

But in family trees there are several different parents given for this Edmund.

So far I haven’t seen any proof or reliable sources to back up what so many have on their family trees. It may be that there is no supporting documents and that we will never know for sure who they were.

But if anyone out there can back up his claim as to Edmund’s parents I’d love to hear from you. Or if you have any ideas on the matter please contact me.

I have been looking around on the internet and especially in some of the old books on archive.org for references to this Edmund.

The parents of Edmund are commonly given as Nicholas Fanning and Ellen Cantwell in family trees on Rootsweb World Connect and Ancestry.com.

WikiTree has the Parents of Edmund as Nicholas Fanning born Ballingarry, Tipperary Ireland 1593 died there 1653; Ellen Cantwell born Tipperary 1598 died 1699.

This tree goes further back:

The parents of Nicholas are given as William Fanning born Ballingarry Tipperary 1560 and Catherine Purcell born Ballingarry 1564;

The father of this William Fanning was William Fanning born Ballingarry 1532 died Farranrory 20 Sept 1579

His father was Oliver Fanning born Garynegrye 1500 died 1600

His father was William Fanning born Ballyclaghin Co Kilkenny 1472 died Ballingarry 1538.

There don’t seem to be any sources for this tree.

Nicholas Schenck and Walter Frederic Brooks however believe Francis Fanning was Edmund’s father but again it is hard to see why they believe this.

The following is a post by Jon Fannon (Dec18, 2008 in Ireland Roots Tipperary) where he gives an outline of  what he thinks is the ancestry of Edmund Fanning, the immigrant ancestor of many American Fannings.

“Edmund of Conn. line however is : Conn. Edmund (b.1620) was son of Francis (b. about 1588 was a sheriff and mayor in Limerick also) and Francis is possibly the brother to Simon fitzClement. (Clement had 3 sons. 1st came Simon, then Edward or Edmund, and 3rd Francis) Edward fitzClement had a son Nicholas who also was sheriff or mayor. Francis fitzClement had two sons Thomas and Edmund. Francis Fanning with Edmund fitzFrancis Fanning and Thomas fitzFrancis Fanning along with Nicholas Fanning are documented forced to leave limerick to Ballengyre by the English in 1651 or 1653 I cant remember right now, and then was again named in some sort of reconciliation from the Queen in 1660 I believe. Its presumed Edmund went on to Conn. sometime after 1653, possibly in 1660. Keep in mind for this hundred year period there was a Fanning as sheriff or mayor in Limerick most of the time. Wether or not it was a cousin a brother a nephew, it seems there were no shortage of Fanning law men, and to complicate this more their names were repeated generation after generation causing a lot of confusion. ”

From the Surnames of Ireland by Edward Maclysaght we have this paragraph on the Fanning name and origins:

A name of Norman origin prominent in Co Limerick where Fanningstown, formerly Ballyfanning, indicates the location. They were formally of Ballingarry, Co Tipperary where in the fifteenth century the head of the family was, like Irish chiefs, officially described as “Captain of his nation“.”

Walter Frederic Brooks thought that Edmund’s father was Francis Fanning.

“Alderman Francis Fanning, the third son of Clement, served as sheriff in 1632-3, and as mayor of Limerick in 1644”

“At the time of the Confiscations in 1653-54 Francis Fanning’s estates were forfeited, and he received sentence of transplantation to Connaught. Francis also had a son Edward who also received sentence of transplantation at the same time….his name is given as Edward Fitz-Francis Fanning.

This Edward or Edmund Fanning, son of the above mentioned Francis Fanning, ex-Mayor of Limerick, emigrated in 1653 or soon after to America and settled in Connecticut.” pages 31-32 Vol 1 History of the Fanning Family by Walter Frederic Brooks.

I do find it strange that Edmund and his children did not call any of their descendants Nicholas or Francis although a daughter of Thomas is called Frances. Edmund named his sons Edmund,Thomas, John, William and James.

Nicholas Schenck has a similar lineage to Walter Brook:

Nicholas W. Schenck Diary: “The American – Fanning Line’ written c 1905

The first Fanning who came to this country was Edmund Fanning – born in Ireland in (about)1620 – of the Fannings in Ireland – Limerick, Tipperary, Kilkinny, Clare – the name is on record from 13th Century to confutation under Cromwell in 1652. Vast estates were established to the Fannings.

Edmund – the emigrant American ancestor – who settled in Connecticut about 1653 was the son of Francis Fanning, 1841 Mayor of Limerick, Ireland – Connaught Certification Office of Exchequer, Dublin. His name is given as Fitz – Francis Fanning. Fit-Francis means son of Francis – Fitz is French or Norman meaning ‘son of ____’.

This Edmund or Edmond – emigrated to America in 1653 (authority) of John O’Hart, Edmund Irish antiquity and author of Irish Peogries – Clentus of Ireland and is found at Fisher Island in 1655 and 1657, later at Groton – Connecticut (near New London) 1664 – now called Ledyard – where he had a farm called Groton Farm – which remained in possession of family for 150 years – where he lived until his death in 1683. “

My interest in Edmund Fanning’s ancestry comes from the fact that my Fanning family here in Australia are linked to this Edmund as shown in a DNA test. So we must be descendants not from Edmund but from his relations who stayed in Ireland.

When I was in Ireland I visited Ballingarry and was told about a Fanning castle in Farranrory. We found what is left of the castle and spent a few hours climbing around it and taking photos. Then when I was briefly in the National Library I found a pedigree for the Fannings who lived in this castle. So I would like Edmund to be related to the Farranrory Fannings!!

In terms of names in our family Edward and William have been used over and over, never a Nicholas or Dominick and only my grandfather was called Francis, which I think is a bit too far down the track to be relevant.

If anyone has any info on the ancestry of  Edmund I’d be most interested to hear from you.

Ancestry of Edmund Fanning of Connecticut America 1620 to 1683

The following is a post by Jon Fannon (Dec18, 2008 in Ireland Roots Tipperary) where he gives an outline of  what he thinks is the ancestry of Edmund Fanning, the immigrant ancestor of many American Fannings.

Edmund of Conn. line however is : conn. Edmund (b.1620) was son of Francis (b.abt 1588 was a sheriff and mayor in limerick also) and Francis is possibly the brother to Simon fitzClement. (Clement had 3 sons. 1st came Simon, then Edward or Edmund, and 3rd Francis) Edward fitzClement had a son Nicholas who also was sheriff or mayor. Francis fitzClement had two sons Thomas and Edmund. Francis Fanning with Edmund fitzFrancis Fanning and Thomas fitzFrancis Fanning along with Nicholas Fanning are documented forced to leave Limerick to Ballengyre by the English in 1651 or 1653 I c’ant remember right now, and then was again named in some sort of reconciliation from the queen in 1660 I believe. It’s presumed Edmund went on to Conn. sometime after 1653, possibly in 1660. Keep in mind for this hundred year period there was a Fanning as sheriff or mayor in Limerick most of the time. Weather or not it was a cousin a brother a nephew, it seems there were no shortage of Fanning law men, and to complicate this more their names were repeated generation after generation causing a lot of confusion. “

Summary of the History of the Fanning Family Vol 1 by Walter Frederic Brooks

Walter Frederic Brooks’ the “History of the Fanning Family Vol 1” 1905, has been summarized including parts that may be relevant to the Fanning family from Thurles, Co Tipperary Ireland. The full text of these books can be viewed online at archive.org.

This information is from the first 52 pages. The rest of this book and vol 2 are concerned with Edmund Fanning who emigrated to America sometime around 1650 and his descendants. These first pages give a general account of the Fanning Family in Europe from Norman times to the Cromwellian Confiscations, 1652-3. My comments are in italics.

The Fanning name is on record in Ireland from the early part of the 13th century and one of influence in the counties of Limerick, Clare, Kilkenny and Tipperary, until the general confiscation under Cromwell in 1652. (Petty’s Survey commenced in 1654 recorded the names of the owners of confiscated estates).

That Edmund Fanning (Connecticut settler in 1653) is the son of Francis Fanning, Mayor of Limerick, has not been proven (in 1906) beyond a doubt but all the evidence supports this. There is no evidence to show that this Edmund was the son of Dominick Fanning (who was beheaded) as he had no son called Edmund.

Edmund’s wife, is said to have been the daughter of an Irish Earl. (In many genealogies on places like Rootsweb, her name is given as Ellen Butler but I have seen no documentary evidence for this.)

Fanning DNA Links

Recent DNA testing of an Australian direct descendant of William Patrick Fanning (born Thurles 1812 died Bulla Victoria 1876) is an exact match to descendants of this Edmund Fanning. So most likely William Patrick Fanning “Big Bill” was related to many of the Fannings from Kilkenny, Tipperary and Limerick mentioned in Brooks account and also to Fannings in Fenagh, Leitrim descended from Fannings transplanted there and also to Fannings transplanted to other counties after 1652. He is F-23 on The Fanning Family DNA Project.

I have just received an email from Pat Fannin which corrects and adds to what I have written above:

“Looking at the y-DNA results, I understand your conclusions on the connection of the Australian descendant of William Patrick Fanning to Edmund Fanning, immigrant to Stonington, Conn. in 1653. However, as I understand the test results from several Fanning lines that descend from Co. Leitrim, I can find no way to connect “Big Bill”or Edmund of Conn. to the Co. Leitrim Fannings. These appear to be two entirely separate lines of Fannings. The tests that I am referring to are: F-12, F-39 & F-42 for Co. Leitrim Fannings. Your line is F-23 and F-14, F-20 are descendants of Edmund Fanning of Conn. The Co. Leitrim descendants are of another Haplogroup from the descendants of “Big Bill” & Edmund of Conn. and could therefore not be related. The markers on these two groups also do not match. Most likely some of the Fannings transplanted to the Connaught were related to Edmund & “Big Bill”, but it wasn’t the families that have tested from Co. Leitrim, thus far. In fact, F-17 Martin Fanning, is a closer match to your “Big Bill” than are the two Edmund Fanning tests (F-14 & F-20) — see marker 27 GATAH4, which is shared by tests F-17 & F-23 and not by the Edmund Fanning results of tests F-14 & F-20″

Back to Brooks:

“Whatever cause the Fannings upheld they entered into it with spirit, determination and patriotism. These are some of the chief characteristics that have pervaded the family from the beginning- patriotism and true devotion to country and cause, regardless of consequences. It has been said no Fanning was ever a traitor to country or creed. Truly their lives were never peaceful, and their history is a story of confiscation, sacrifice, and martyrdom from the earliest times”. Page XV

The Arms of Fanning are registered in the Ulsters Office, Dublin, 1775 Ped. XI, fol.269 as follows:

A Chevron Gules, between three doves proper, for Crest, on a wreath of the colours a cherub Proper. A chevron is an inverted V and Gules is the colour red and proper is a natural colour. Motto: “In Deo Spes Mea” In God Is My Hope.

The Normans

In 912 Rollo, chief of a group of Northmen, conquered the province of Newstria in northern France, which became Normandy. These northmen adopted Christianity and the French language. (To celebrate his conversion to Christianity Rollo is said to have had  two hundred prisoners executed.) Normandy became one of the most powerful states in Christendom. In 1066 the Battle of Hastings placed William, Duke of Normandy, on the English throne. William partitioned out the whole of England amongst his officers, who erected strong military castles and sorely oppressed the English. About 100 years after the conquest of England the Normans invaded Ireland. In 1172 Henry the second landed in Ireland and received the homage of the Irish king and Irish princes, on condition they should keep their land. Henry broke this treaty and granted the whole of Ireland to ten of his nobles, by charter and Norman law. He bestowed the Lordship of Ireland on his son Prince John in 1185. This led to wars between the Norman barons and the Irish chieftains which resulted in many Norman acquisitions.

These Normans were scarcely settled in their possessions when they adopted the language, habits and customs of the Irish, becoming more Irish than the Irish themselves.

The Norman-English monarchs gained nominal possession of Ireland and established their government in Dublin, yet their power was confined for centuries to some seaports and to a limited district around Dublin called the English Pale. The great Anglo-Norman barons and Irish chieftains ruled like independent princes over the greater part of Ireland, It was not until the reign of James I that English law was established over the whole island.

The Fanning family appears to be of Norman origins and to have come to Ireland with the first Norman settlers.

The present form of the Fanning name seems to have become established in the 16th century. Then and later we find the forms: Fanyng, Fannyng, Fannynge, Fanynge, Faning, Fanyin, Fannying, Fannyn, Fanninge, Fannen, Fanan, Fannin and Fannon.There is more variation in later records than earlier. The earliest form of the name on record is Fanyn 1234-1304.

The Fannings of Limerick and Clare

In the early part of the 13th century Richard Fanyn received grants of land in Co Clare.

Walter Fanning was appointed by Henry III to a commission held at Roscrea in 1245.

Richard Fanning was on a commission which sat in Limerick in 1275. He had land in Clare. His son Thomas was granted land in Kilkenny in 1279.

William Fanning recorded as an extensive landowner in Limerick 1310.br

John Fanning a commissioner in 1348 Limerick.

Simon Fanning recorded as a landed proprietor in Limerick 1355 and Thomas Fanning also in 1409.

Nicholas Fanning was a high constable in Connello Limerick in 1426.

Richard Fanning served in the Wars of the Roses & died in 1462.

David Fanning was assessor of the city of Limerick in 1467.

Walter Fanning is recorded as a landed proprietor in the barony of Pubblebrien in 1501. He was high constable in 1499.

Richard Fanning is mentioned among the officers slain at the battle of Mourne Abbey in 1521. A battle between the forces of the Earl of Desmond and the allied chieftains of South Munster under McCarthy More.

Simon Fanning is recorded as having estates in the Barony of Pubblebrien in 1532.

In 1542 Patrick and William Fanning, both aldermen, served on a commission set up to inquire into the disposal of the property of the suppressed monasteries. Simon and Patrick Fanning were found to hold some of this property.

Nicholas Fanning was a Clerk of the Exchequer 1541.

Thomas Fanning was treasurer to Gerald, 16th Earl of Desmond was of the most powerful subject in the British Islands (owning 600,000 acres and having 500 knights in his service).

Clement Fanning was elected sheriff of Limerick city in1551. and served as Mayor on 1557-8. In 1559 he was chosen to represent the city of Limerick in the Irish Parliament. He lost a great deal of property as a result of the rebellion of the Earl of Desmond around 1573, during the reign of Elizabeth I. Fanningstown , the property of Clement Fanning was confiscated in 1589. Clement Fanning had a son Patrick.

George Fanning, son of alderman William Fanning, was elected sheriff of the City of Limerick in 1564. Alderman James Fanning was mayor of Limerick in 1584.

Patrick Fanning, son of Clement Fanning of Fanningstown , was elected sheriff of Limerick city in 1576. His son was Clement Fanning and he was sheriff of Limerick in 1595 and mayor in 1610. He had three sons: Simon, Edward and Francis. Edward Fanning had a son Nicholas who was sheriff in 1625 and mayor of Limerick in 1630. After the confiscation of his landed property he was transported to Connaught in 1653-4.

Simon Fanning the eldest son of Clement Fanning served as sheriff in 1600 and mayor in 1615. He died in 1636-7 leaving five sons: Dominick, John, Bartholomew, Richard and James.

Francis Fanning, third son of Clement Fanning, served as sheriff in 1632-3 and as mayor of Limerick in 1644. At the time of the Confiscations in 1653-54 Francis Fanning’s estates were forfeited and he received sentence of transplantation to Connaught 1653-4.

Francis had a son Edward or Edmund (the names Edward, Edmund and Edmond are synonymous) who also was to be sent to Connaught. (The province of Connaught is located on the north west coast of Ireland and comprises the counties of Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon) His name is given as Edward Fitz-Francis Fanning on the Transplantation Certificate. This Edward, son of Francis, emigrated in 1653 or soon after to America and settled in Connecticut. Edward was born in Ireland about 1620, was married there about 1649 and died in Stonington, Connecticut on 19th August 1683.

There are different pedigrees for the emigrant Edward Fanning in Rootsweb and I don’t know what sources have been used. According to Brooks this Edwards ancestry is as follows:

Clement Fanning of Fanningstown, his son was Patrick Fanning, sheriff Limerick City 1576 died 1612.Patrick’s son was Clement Fanning, sheriff of Limerick 1595 and mayor 1610. He had three sons Simon (dies 1636-7), Edward and Francis. Simon had five sons: Dominick, John, Bartholemew, Richard and James. His eldest son Dominick served as Mayor of Limerick three times and was executed in 1651 for taking part in the great Rebellion. His head was placed over St John’s gate where it remained for several years. Francis was the father of the Edmund who emigrated to America.

Numerous high offices were held by those of Fanning name in Limerick county prior to 1652.

In the County of Clare a Dominick Fanning, a Nicholas Fanning and a Thomas Fanning had lands confiscated.

The Fannings of Kilkenny and Tipperary

Tipperary separated from Limerick as a separate county around 1254. John Fanning is the first of the name to be recorded in 1285 in the County of Tipperary.

Thomas Fanning was granted land in Kilkenny in 1279. Gilbert Fanning was in possession of lands in Kilkenny in 1316. Thomas Fitz-Gilbert received a grant of the Manor of Mohober in 1332. Mohober, in the Parish of Lismalin, Barony of Compsey, County Tipperary, was for several centuries a manor of the Fannings.

Hugh Fanning was appointed by Edward III a commissioner of the peace for the County of Tipperary in 1358. He was granted lands in the Manor of Ballingarry.

In 1545 Henry VIII granted lands in Kilkenny to Oliver Fanning. In 1570 he is mentioned as holding land by knight’s service in the Manor of Knocktopher.

William Fanning was a landed proprietor in the Barony of Kells, County of Kilkenny in 1570. He died in 1570. He left his estates in trust to James, son of Thomas Fanning of Ballingtaggart, County of Tipperary; Robert, son of Walter Fanning of Mohober, County of Tipperary; and Richard Fanning of Kappaghintallagarry. His second son William succeeded to the estates.

William Fanning is recorded in 1570 as an extensive landed proprietor in the Manor of Killenaule, Barony of Slvievardagh, County of Tipperary. (Source: Calendar of the Carew Maunuscripts, 1515-1574, p.404)

In 1600 the Fannings are recorded as among the principal landowners in the Barony of Slievardagh, County of Tipperary (Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts, 1589-1600, p.513)

William Fanning of BallyMcCloghny was constable of the Barony of Gowran, County of Kilkenny, in 1608.

Geoffrey (or Jeffrey) Fanning of Fanningstown, Ballingarry, County of Tipperary was elected in 1642 to represent the Manor of Glengall in the Confederate Parliament and served in the assembly until its dissolution. After the Cromwellian conquest he retired to the Continent, where he served under Charles II until the Restoration in 1660, when he returned to Ireland. He was granted part of his estates confiscated during the Crowellian regime. This grant confirmed in June 1668 was upwards of 2000 acres in the Baronies of Slievardagh and Compsey, as well as the manor house and land at Ballingarry.

After the Confiscations of 1652

In 1652 a law was passed by the English Parliamednt confiscating upwards of ten million acres of land in Ireland. The owners to be transplanted to Connaught. Certain desolate parts of the Counties of Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim were set apart for the transplanted.

The following Limerick Fannings received transplantation certificates for County Leitrim:

Nicholas Fanning, Francis Fanning, Edward Fitz-Francis Fanning, Madalen Fanning, Martin Fanning, Mary Fanning, William Fanning, Thomas Fitz-Clement Fanning, Edward Fitz-James Fanning, Michael Fitz-James Fanning, and Thoma Fitz- Patrick Fanning. (Fitz is of Norman origin and denotes son of).

To be transplated from Tipperary were Edmond Fanning of Gortfy, William Fanning of Farrenroe, Nicholas Fanning of Clonegall and from Kilkenny James Fanning of Knocktopher.

All the above Fannings settled in the Parish of Feenagh in County Leitrim and were never restored to their estates.

On the Restoration of Charles II some lands and estates were restored. Goeffrey Fanning received a grant of his manor house and 2000 acres of land in Tipperary County. William Fanning of the County of Kilkenny received 531 acres of land in the Barony of Ballymoe, County of Galway in 1668.

Not one member of the Limerick Fannings is on record as receiving any compensation for the loss of his estates.

A Lieutenant John Fanning served in the Spanish army under the banner of the exiled Charles II and was killed in Prague 1648. He may have been from the Tipperary branch of the family.

In 1652 the estates of the Kilkenny Fannings were also confiscated

It is under the circumstances of the Cromwellian confiscations and transplantings that Edmund Fanning and his wife Ellen emigrated to America and settled in Connecticut around 1853.

Diary of Nicholas W. Schenck 1830 to 1916

The immediate ancestry of Edmund Fanning, the American Immigrant Ancestor, and  his descendants in America is traced in the diary of Nicholas Schenck.

Nicholas W. Schenck (1830-1916) was the son of Eliza Ann Fanning and William Schenck. He was born in Brooklyn, NY on January 8, 1830. The family moved to Wilmington NC in May 1836 after the death of his father and lived with an uncle, Phineas Fanning. Schenck lived in Wilmington until 1865 and visited often until his death in 1916. The diary was written around 1905 and recalls Wilmington before and after the civil war.

Nicholas W. Schenck Diary: “The American – Fanning Line’ written c 1905

“The first Fanning who came to this country was Edmund Fanning – born in Ireland in (about)1620 – of the Fannings in Ireland – Limerick, Tipperary, Kilkinny, Clare – the name is on record from 13th Century to confutation under Cromwell in 1652. Vast estates were established to the Fannings.

Edmund – the emigrant American ancestor – who settled in Connecticut about 1653 was the son of Francis Fanning, 1841 Mayor of Limerick, Ireland – Connaught Certification Office of Exchequer, Dublin. His name is given as Fitz – Francis Fanning. Fit-Francis means son of Francis – Fitz is French or Norman meaning ‘son of ____’.

This Edmund or Edmond – emigrated to America in 1653 (authority) of John O’Hart, Edmund Irish antiquity and author of Irish Peogries – Clentus of Ireland and is found at Fisher Island in 1655 and 1657, later at Groton – Connecticut (near New London) 1664 – now called Ledyard – where he had a farm called Groton Farm – which remained in possession of family for 150 years – where he lived until his death in 1683. “