Jenner Surname Genealogy

The root of Jenner was the French engigneor
or engineer.  At the time of
the Norman Conquest the name described the men who dug the military
siege trenches and worked the catapults and siege machines.
Most Jenners were to be found in southeast England in East Sussex and
across the border into Kent.  The story goes that there were
“engineers” who had come over with William the Conqueror but had become
disgruntled for their lack of reward.  So they refused to
integrate into the newly conquered country and stayed in the East
Sussex area where they had landed.

Resources on

Jenner Ancestry

England.  Jenner has been
a relatively common name in Sussex and Kent and was also to be found in
the west country, in Gloucestershire..

Sussex  The name
in Sussex was to be found
in coastal towns such as Hastings and Brighton and in wealden villages
such as Withyham, Worth, Ticehurst, and Wadhurst.  Thomas Jenner
from Mayfield was a judge who rose to become Baron of the Exchequer and
a Justice of the Common Pleas in the 1680’s.  Two Jenner brothers
from Rotherfield founded the Jenner brewery in London.

Kent  A Jenner
family originally from Brede in East Sussex were cutlers in Cranbrook
Kent in the 1600’s.  Other Jenners were stone cutters in the
quarries near
Tunbridge Wells.  And Jenners were country gentry
in Chislehurst
, Kent from the 1750’s and possibly earlier.  The
Kent town of Chatham on the Medway could boast to be the birthplace in
1810 of Charles Jenner, the founder of Jenners of Edinburgh,
and in 1815 of Sir William Jenner, Queen Victoria’s doctor.  Less famous was George Jenner, born there in
1814, who became a shoemaker.

The most renowned Jenner was not from Sussex or Kent.  Edward
Jenner was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire in
1749, the son of the local vicar, and he spent most of his career as a
doctor in his native town.  In 1796 he carried out his now famous
experiment on eight-year-old James Phipps.  He was testing the
theory, drawn from the folklore of the countryside, that milkmaids who
suffered the mild disease of cowpox never contracted smallpox, one of
the greatest killers of the period.  Jenner subsequently proved
that Phipps, after having been inoculated with cowpox, would be immune
to smallpox.

There had been an earlier outbreak of smallpox in the Dorset village of
Yetminster where, curiously, a cluster of Jenners (originally Ginners)
was to be found.  This village was proficient in the leather and
glove trade and Henry Jenner and his son Harry brought that skill with
them when they emigrated to America in 1864.

Jenner in America was probably Richard Jenner who was brought to New
sometime in the 1640’s by Hannah, his widowed mother.

Jenner, a gentleman of considerable
property and an officer in the British army, who, dying in a foreign
left a widow and three sons in London.” 

report has him dying during the passage to America.

This family, traced in Carl Mitton’s 1990
booklet The Jenner Family, lived in
Woodbury, Connecticut for a considerable period of time.  A Jenner
Bible handed
down marked succeeding generations.  One
line led to Chautauqua county in western New York.
Another line led to Kentucky and Indiana and Bill Jenner, the Indiana
Senator and
anti-communist crusader of the 1950’s.

Jenners in America today number less than a thousand.  They may be
either of English or German origin. Henry Jenner came from Sussex
in the 1840’s and settled in upstate New York.  Another Jenner
family traces its roots back to Wuerttenberg in
Germany.  Jenner here may have come from the South German Janner
after Januarius (the first month of the year).

AustraliaIsaac Jenner
from Sussex settled in Brisbane, Queensland in the 1880’s.
He was a landscape painter.  Although his contribution to art in
Brisbane was considerable, his claim to be the founder of art in the
colony was somewhat exaggerated.

Select Jenner Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Jenner

was the celebrated English scientist credited in the
early 19th century with devising a vaccine for smallpox.
Charles Jenner who had moved
from the south to Edinburgh started a drapery store on Princes Street
in the 1830’s.  Now known as Jenners, it is probably the best
known of Edinburgh’s shops.
William Jenner
was the
physician who discovered the difference between
typhus and typhoid.  He was also Queen Victoria’s doctor.

Henry Jenner
was a Celtic
scholar who published the Cornish language handbook in 1904 which
helped in its revival as a language.

Bruce Jenner
was the American track athlete who won the 1976 Olypmpic
decathlon Gold Medal.
  He has since made his name in
American reality TV and become a woman known as Caitlyn Jenner.

Select Jenners Today

  • 6,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Kent)
  • 800 in America (most numerous
    in California).
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia) 




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