Mann Surname Genealogy

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

  • 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

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

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.
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
Shelly Manne was a prominent
American jazz drummer, usually associated with West Coast jazz.

Select Manns 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)



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