Mann Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Mann Meaning
Mann meaning “man” is Germanic in origin and was probably
brought to England by Saxon settlers prior to the Norman Conquest.  Its earliest connotation seems to have been as
a nickname for someone of heroic stature who was fierce and strong.  Later the meaning appears to have been reversed
and Man or Mann became an occupational name for a servant or someone who, in the feudal sense, owed a service.
The Scottish version of Mann, found in NE Scotland, was a corruption of
the Scandinavian Magnus name.  The Jewish Mann name is largely

Mann Resources on

Mann Ancestry

There are some 20,000 Manns in Germany today, with the main
concentration being in Saxony in SE Germany. However, the most famous
German Mann – the writer Thomas Mann – came from the town of Lubeck in
northern Germany.

early evidence of the Man or Mann surname in England was along the east
coast, from northern Kent
through East Anglia to Yorkshire.

East CoastThe
Saxon family of Man in Kent
was of importance before the
Conquest. Their first seat was in the
parish of Bredgar where they gave
their name to an estate known as Mann’s Manor.

Later Mans or Manns were:

  • William Man who appeared in Yorkshire as early as
    1185 in the
    register of the Knights Templar
    .  There was a Mann family
    at Doncaster in south Yorkshire by 1500.  William Man was recorded
    at Bramley
    in north Yorkshire as early as 1481.  Mann
    families were still farming in the area in 1841.
  • the Manns of Ipswich in Suffolk who were established in the town
    also around 1500.  Edward Mann married Dorothy Mannock there in
    1625.  From this line came Robert Mann, a successful London
    merchant, and Galfridus Mann, successful also as an army
    clothier.  The Mann baronets of Linton Hall in Kent ensued in
    1755, the first being a diplomat abroad and the second a cricket lover
    at home.
  • Richard Mann, the son of Samuel and Ann Mann, who was born in
    Norwich in 1611.  He was an emigrant to New England in the
    John Mann was mayor of Norwich in 1653.
  • while a Mann family at Hatfield Broad Oak in Essex has been
    evident from the 1600’s to the 1900’s.  One line of this family
    came to Ireland in 1633.  Another Essex line has been traced back
    William Mann who married Mary Harvey in Colchester in the 1730’s.

Elsewhere.  The
Man or Mann name also appeared in some west country
outposts.   The clergyman John Man who became Dean of
Gloucester in 1566 was born in the village of Lacock in
Wiltshire.  Another John Man was a prominent Dorset merchant four
the mayor of Poole in the mid-1500’s.  Manns at
Widecombe-in-the-Moor in Devon also dated from the 16th century.

Man or Mann in Scotland is a shortened form
of the Scandinavian Magnus name.  Traditionally
they have come from NE Scotland and been associated with the Gunn clan
there.  George Fraser Black in his 1946 The Surnames of Scotland recorded the following
early Mans in that part of Scotland.

Man was admitted as a burgess of Aberdeen in 1399; while Christina Man
was recorded
in Aberdeen in 1411.  
Man was resident in Brechin in 1472 and Andro
Man was executed in Aberdeen in 1597 for witchcraft.” 

Many Manns departed the area in the 19th century, to Canada in
particular.  Angus has the largest number of Manns in Scotland

Ireland.  Manns in Ireland
are most likely to be
found in Ulster.

Henry Mann from Essex arrived in 1633 and settled in county Cork.
The line from his son Deane established itself at Dunmoyle
township in Tyrone.   When some money came into the family in
the mid-1800’s they built Dunmoyle Lodge.

Mann in Antrim could be Scottish or even Irish (as a contraction of
Mahon) in origin.  Some Scots Irish Manns, such as John Mann in
1732, departed early, in his case to Pennsylvania.  Joseph Mann
was a pawnbroker from Glasgow who set up his business in Belfast in
1858.  He and his wife Kate raised ten children there.

America.  English Manns
came first, followed by larger numbers of Manns from Germany – on the
basis of the passenger arrival records of their country of origin.

New England.
There were two notable early Mann lines in New England:

  • Richard Mann from Norfolk who arrived in Scituate, Massachusetts
    in 1636.
  • and William Mann from Kent who came to Cambridge, Massachusetts
    sometime in the 1640’s.

Richard Mann’s line was first traced in George Mann’s 1884 book Mann Memorial.  Seven
generations of his family lived in Scituate, including five in the Mann farmhouse
which has recently been restored as a museum.

One line through his grandson Nathaniel Mann settled in
Hebron, Connecticut and, after the Revolutionary War, in Utica, New
York.  Abijah and Charles Mann were New
York Congressmen there.
Charles’s son Matthew was one of the
physicians who
attended President William McKinley after he had been shot in 1901

William’s line extended to his son the Rev. Samuel Mann, who was born
in Cambridge in 1647, and much later to Horace Mann who made his mark
reforming the public school system in Massachusetts in the
1840’s.  One line from Timothy Mann, who was apparently ostrasized
by the family in 1758 for marrying an Indian girl, made their home in
Dummerston, Vermont.

Virginia.  The
Virginia settlers were first English, and then Irish and German.

Robert Mann dated from about 1642 in Henrico
county.  He grew tobacco on the southside
of the James river basin and above the Appomattox river in an area
known as the
Mann triangle.  Thomas Mann meanwhile had
come to Nansemond county sometime in the 1650’s.
Later Thomas Manns of his family settled in North Carolina

Augusta county could boast both Scots Irish and
German Manns.

John Mann who came from Northern Ireland in 1735 was an early
settler in Augusta county.   He
was a blacksmith living on the south
side of Peaked Mountain.   Legend has
that he and his family lived in a saltpetre cave when they first
arrived from
Ireland.  Son William, an Indian trader who
settled in
Botetourt county, died of his wounds from an Indian attack in
1778.  His descendants Isaac and Edwin Mann were prominent
businessmen in Bramwell, West Virginia a century or so later.

In 1732 Jerg
Bernhart Mohn aka George Bernhart Mann
had made his way with
his family from their home in the German Palatinate via Rotterdam to
Philadelphia.  Twelve years later they were also in the Peaked
Mountain area of Augusta county.  Their son George, born in
America in 1734, migrated west to Kentucky and Ohio.  His story
was narrated in Dorothy Knoff’s 1977 book Goerge Adam Mann: A Family on Four

Pennsylvania also had Mann Irish and German
arrivals.  Peter Mann from the Rhineland
Palatinate, for instance, arrived in Philadelphia with his family on
the Royal Union in 1750.  They
settled in Bethel township, Bedford

Thomas Mann, who was born in Ireland and came to America sometime in
1760’s, was the forebear of the Mann axe-making family of central
Pennsylvania.  William Mann began this
enterprise with his brother Harvey in 1825.
Four generations of the family were active in axe manufacture
for close
on a hundred years.

Canada.  Isaac Mann was born in New
and lived there at the time
of the Revolutionary War, serving as a colonel in the British militia
under Burgoyne.  As a Loyalist in a losing
cause he was granted
lands in Canada.  In 1784 he settled in the
Gaspe region of Quebec with his three sons.
They made their home in what became known as the Mann Settlement.

A much later arrival was Daniel Mann from upstate New York, a soldier
in the American Civil War, who came to St. Thomas in SW Ontario with
his family shortly thereafter.  They were among its
first settlers.  Daniel’s line extended back to Captain Benjamin
Mann from Massachusetts who fought in the Revolutionary War and
to James Mann who was born in Boston around the year 1690.

Some Scottish
Manns headed for Canada in the 19th century.  Their numbers

  • William
    Mann and his family
    from Morayshire who settled in
    Baltimore, Ontario in the 1830’s
  • and Donald Mann from Glengarry in
    Invernessshire who came to Acton, Ontario in the 1840’s.  His
    grandson Sir Donald Mann was a prominent Canadian railroad contractor
    and enterpreneur of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Australia.  Charles Mann
from Suffolk trained as a lawyer in London and came out to South
Australia in 1837 as its
first Advocate General.  He was married four times.  Three of
his sons survived him, the eldest Charles serving four times in the
1880’s as Attorney General of South Australia.


Mann Miscellany

The Man Family of Kent.  The Saxon family of Man in Kent was for a time known as Le Man or Lyman, perhaps in deference to their Norman conquerors.  It was William
Man – a man who rode with Richard the Lionheart in the Crusade to
Jerusalem – who first secured
the family manor, still known as Mann’s Manor, in the parish of Bredgar
half way
between Rochester and Canterbury.

His descendants
subsequently possessed the manors of Sweet-Arden, Bonnington,
Aldrington, and
others in Kent. From the reign of Henry
III in the 13th century they held the Aldermanry of the West Gate in
Canterbury by Grand
being obliged to furnish five knights for its defense.

The earliest traceable ancestor was Saloman Le
Man, born at Mann’s Manor in the early 1400’s.  Later
Mans were to be found at Broad Oaks, just
outside Canterbury.  The line extended to
William Man who came to New England in the 1640’s and was one of the
earliest settlers
in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Manns of Bramley Grange in North Yorkshire.  It was recorded that William Man was tending to Bramley Grange in the parish of
Kirkby Malzeard on behalf of the Convent of Fountains as early as the
year 1481.  John Man held that position in
1524.   In.
1540 Edward Man and his wife Agnes were tenants there.

around 1580 Bramley Grange was purchased
by William Mann whose monumental effigy can be seen on a small brass in
church.  His descendants continued to
maintain a gentry position until the death of a later William Mann in
1723.  Members of a younger branch of the
resided at Grewelthorpe in the same parish well into the 1800’s.  William and Anthony Mann were recorded as
there in the 1841 census.

Manns in America by Country of Origin

Country Total Percent
Germany    650    41
England    525    33
Ireland    265    17
Scotland    130     9
Total   1,570   100

The totals above are derived from passenger shipping

The Mann Farmhouse in Scituate, Massachusetts.  The Mann Farmhouse and Museum is located at 108 Greenfield Lane in Scituate, Massachusetts.  The marker outside reads:

“1636-1976.  Mann historical
museum.  A unique historical site in that
construction spans nearly three centuries.
Five generations of the Mann family lived in this house.  They were direct descendants of Richard Mann
who settled in Scituate in 1636.”

Mann had lived on North Scituate’s Mann Hill overlooking Mushquashcut
where he met his death in 1656.  It was
John Mann or possibly his father Captain Thomas Mann who built this
full Cape house.  The ell was added and
served as a summer kitchen, storage area and workshop.

Percy Mann, the grandson of John Mann and a
seventh generation descendant of Richard Mann, lived in the house until
1968.  He died at the age of 93.

After Percy had had a run-in with the town’s
officials in the 1920’s, he decided that rather than pay vehicle
fees, driver’s license fees, and car insurance, he would just drive his
into the back yard, park it and never drive it again.  Over the
course of time a
tree grew up through the middle of the car, which remains where Percy
left it
almost a century ago.  At the eastern end
of the land is the final resting spot of Zebby, Percy’s beloved horse.

The artifacts in the house include primitive
Pilgrim furniture, carpenter and shoe making tools, military items,
children’s toys, early farming equipment and many valuable documents
books.  The collection reflects the varied
trades at which the Manns worked: farming, maritime trade, soldiery in
American war, religion, education, sail making, and more.

Jerg Bernhart Mohn aka George Bernhart Mann.  In 1732 Mohn and his family traveled down the Rhine
to Rotterdam where they boarded a small schooner, the Pink
.  After a stop
on the Isle of Wight, the ship sailed for Philadelphia.  The
sailing ships took about 10-12 weeks to
cross the Atlantic.  They were usually
ships with spoiled food and frequent illnesses.

His signature should be properly read as Jerg Bernhart Mohn.  However, the ship’s captain wrote it as Jurrig
Bernhart Man. The English clerks, writing the name phonetically,
decided he
was to be George Bernhart Mann.  They
recorded that he was traveling with his wife Anna Margaret and his
Johann Jacob, Georg Bernhard, Maria Margaret, and baby Anna Maria aged
just six
months. Georg was also later found as George Barnet Mann and Barnet

In 1744 they sold their land in Pennsylvania
and the family was off to Augusta county, Virginia.  By 1749 their
new farms
were surveyed and registered with the court.  Barnet Mann had 320
acres and his
son Jacob 260 acres in Stony Run creek, lying between Shanando and the
Mountain.  The Peaked Mountain Lutheran
Church was a place for Germans like the Manns to come together.

The patriarch George Bernhart Mann remained there
until he died in 1769.

William Mann and Family – from Scotland to Canada.  William Mann
was born in Duffus parish, Morayshire in 1798.  Sometime
in the 1830’s he and his wife Margaret
and their six children left their home in Urquhart for Canada.
They settled in a small village called Baltimore, just north of Cobourg
Lake Ontario.  William had a large farm there.  Their son
John, a
carpenter, built a home for his parents on the land.

The family helped build the original Baltimore
Presbyterian Church.  That church is long
gone.  But the cemetery and burial site
of the Mann family remains as the Old Scotch Burying Ground.  The
and its successor are known locally as the Mann Church.  Many Mann
descendants still attend the church and have prominent roles there.


Mann Names

  • John Man was a Protestant cleric who was made Dean of
    Gloucester in 1566.
  • Horace Mann who was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837 has been called the
    father of American public school education.
  • Sir Donald Mann was a leading Canadian railroad contractor of the
    late 19th century.
  • Al Mann was a Jewish
    entrepreneur who founded many successful companies in the American aerospace and medical industries in the second half of the 20th century.
  • Shelly Manne was a prominent American jazz drummer, usually associated with West Coast jazz.

Select Mann Numbers Today

  • 27,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 35,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 20,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Mann and Like Surnames

Many surnames have come from East Anglia (Norfolk and Suffolk) and surrounding areas in eastern England.  These are some of the noteworthy surnames that you can check out.



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