Surname Agnew - Meaning and Origin
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Agnew: What does the surname Agnew mean?
The surname Agnew is of Scottish origin, derived from the Old Norse personal name "Agne," which itself originates from the element "agi," meaning awe or terror. It was first found in the Wigtownshire area of Scotland, used by the Lords of Galloway. Over time, it often transformed into Agneu and Agnew in English. Many Scottish families took this surname after migrating to Ireland during the Middle Ages, thus making it prevalent in both countries. However, it’s important to note that the meaning of a surname can vary based on geographical region and historical context. The family motto of Agnew is "consilio, non impetu," meaning "by wisdom, not by rashness." Today, the name Agnew is recognized globally due to several prominent bearers, such as former U.S. Vice President Spiro T. Agnew.
Agnew: Where does the name Agnew come from?
The surname Agnew originates from Scotland. Specifically, it comes from the old barony of Agnew in the parish of Leswalt in Wigtownshire, where the family held a family seat from ancient times. The name itself is believed to be of Norman origin, possibly brought over to Scotland during the Norman Conquest in the 11th century.
The first recorded spelling of the name appears as "Agneu" in the late 13th century. The Agnew family has had numerous distinguished members over the centuries, including Sir Andrew Agnew, the hereditary knight and sheriff of Galloway in the 17th century.
Today, the surname Agnew is fairly common in various countries with significant populations of people of Scottish or Irish descent, such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. However, it remains particularly prevalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland due to historical concentrations of the family in those regions.
Variations of the surname Agnew
The surname Agnew is of Irish and Scottish origin and is derived from the Gaelic name O'Gnimh, which means "descendant of the skilled person." Variations of this surname in Scotland include Aggnew, Agnewe, Eignew, Eggnew, and Hagnew. In Ireland, other forms of Agnew include O'Gnew, Gnew, and New.
The surname has also been spelled phonetically in various records as Agnue, Aigneau, and Agneau in France. Volkert, Volckert, Volkertzen, and Volckertszen are Dutch surnames that have been Anglicized to Agnew in America.
Most commonly, the surname is found as Agnew, but individual families may have chosen different spellings over the centuries. This variability is common with surnames and reflects various influences such as regional accents, literacy levels, and personal preference. Additionally, the change in geographic location, such as migration or colonization, often contributes to different spellings of the same surname.
Despite the many spellings, the surname Agnew and its derivatives essentially refer to the same heritage - that of a family traditionally skilled in crafts or warfare.
Famous people with the name Agnew
- Spiro T. Agnew: He was the 39th Vice President of the United States from 1969 to 1973, serving under President Richard Nixon. He remains the second Vice President in American history to resign the office.
- David Hayes Agnew: He was a renowned American surgeon known for treating President James Garfield's mortal gunshot wound.
- Anni-Frid Lyngstad: More commonly known by her nickname Frida, the ABBA singer took the surname Agnetha from her first husband, Ragnar Fredriksson.
- Tom Agnew: He was an Australian rules footballer who played in the Victorian Football League (VFL).
- James Agnew: An Australian politician and former Premier of Tasmania.
- John Agnew: A notable contemporary British-American geographer.
- Joan Agnew: An Australian television and film actress, known for her role in 'Skippy the Bush Kangaroo'.
- Sir James Wilson Agnew: He was an Irish-born Australian politician, who served as Premier of Tasmania.
- Meaghan Agnew: A former competitive ice dancer for the United States.
- Cornelius Rea Agnew: He was a distinguished American surgeon and ophthalmologist.
- James Burrill Angell: He was an American educator, academic administrator, and diplomat. He is best known for being the longest-serving president of the University of Michigan, from 1871 to 1909.