Fanning Variant Names

Fanning surname variants.

After two years of researching my Fanning family history in Ireland I have only just realised how many variations on the name Fanning have been used in records.

There are two main ones: Fanning and Fannin. I came across a brother and sister on the same ship and one was listed as Fanning, the other Fannin. My emigrant ancestor Wiliam Patrick Fanning was listed as William Fannin on the “Enmore” passenger list and in a 1856 Census in Victoria he is also William Fannin.

But there are lots more variations. Some are misspellings and the rest I think the result of being written as they sound, with an Irish accent.

Others I have encountered are Fanin, Fannen, Fanen, Fanon, Fanan, Fannon, Faning, one Fannning, and even Farnon and Farnen.

The Anglo Normans in Ireland

Fanning is an Anglo-Norman name. The Normans conquered the English in 1066 and a hundred years later in 1169 invaded Ireland.

Anglo-Normans are so called because they’d lived in England for a hundred years (103 yrs) before coming into Ireland in 1169.
They were Vikings by origin who had become somewhat French while living and intermarrying in Normandy. They originally came from Norway or Denmark around 900. One of these Vikings was Rollo, ancestor of the Duke of Normandy.

The Normans had come to England as invaders with William, Duke of Normandy, in 1066, which was only a century and a half after the Vikings had settled in Normandy in 911.

In Ireland the Normans intermarried with the Irish and the Norman race was assimilated.
The first form of the name on record appears to be “Fanyn”.

The author of “The Norman People and their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States of America”, published by H.S.King in 1874, says that the names Fanning, Fannin and Fannon come from Fainent or Faineant and cite John and William Faitneant or Fainent of Normandy 1198.

The Irish conquest was an extension of the conquest of Wales – an activity of Norman lords in the marches who were acting more or less independently of the crown. Once successful, their conquests were adopted by Henry II.