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Surname Genn - Meaning and Origin

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Genn: What does the surname Genn mean?

The surname Genn is an English and French name meaning "anvil" or "smith." This name developed as an occupational surname, used to describe those who worked as blacksmiths. In medieval times, blacksmiths (or smiths) had an important role to play in production for their communities as they could fashion tools and weapons, and shoe horses. As a result, those with the Genn surname might have had considerable respect in their communities.

The Genn surname is derived from Old French and Middle English occupational word 'genou', which means anvil. However, the meaning is likely to have evolved from the Latin word 'gnavus', which means 'skilled' or 'well-trained'. This reflects the importance of the skill of ironworking to those who held the Genn surname.

Today, the Genn surname is still carried on in several countries. Those with the surname can trace its origins back to the early Middle Ages, and likely still traces its roots to the early 1500s. Many descendants of those with the Genn surname will no doubt have traditions and stories passed down through the generations about their blacksmith heritage.

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Genn: Where does the name Genn come from?

The last name Genn is a prominent surname in Italy, where it is believed to have originated. It also appears with some frequency in the United States, both with American families of Italian descent as well as more recently-arrived members of the Italian diaspora. In England, the name is less common, but still found in areas with significant Italian populations, such as London. It may also be found in other places around the world where descendants of Italian immigrants live or have lived in the past.

In Italy, the Genn family has several notable members, ranging from prominent politicians to actors and musicians. For example, in Florence, famous political leaders from the family include machinist and former chairman of the Municipality of Florence Carlo Genn and academic and former dean of the University of Florence and Florence's current mayor, Dario Nardella. The Pisan musician Vittorio Genn also comes from this family, as does actress Elena Sofia Ricci.

Outside of Italy, famous historical figures to bear the last name Genn include Rupprecht Genn (an important judge in Imperial Germany's Constitutional Court from 1920–1926) and Gregory Genn (016–1973), an American army officer and decorated war hero.

Today, the Genn name is still most closely associated with Italy, but it is possible to find families of Italian descent with this name all over the world.

Variations of the surname Genn

The surname Genn is of German, English and Jewish origins and has many variant spellings.

The most common spelling of the surname Genn is the German version, Genn. It is also spelled as Gen or Genne. Other slight variants of Genn include Gehne, Geen, Genne, Gin, Ginn, Gynn, Genns, Ginns and Gynns.

In England, Genn is also known as Genns, Gens, Gennis, Genis, Genny, Gensy and Genesy.

In the Jewish faith, the surname Genn is spelt as Gen and Gennis.

Due to the many variations of the surname Genn, some people have changed their name to Gennison or Gennings.

Genn is also a Dutch surname that is spelled Genns or Gens.

All of these surnames are mainly found in Northwestern Europe and the United Kingdom, especially in England, Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavia.

It is widely believed that the Genn surname originated from an earlier Germanic name, Gense, which comes from the verb gensan, meaning “to germinate”. Other theories have suggested that the surname was derived from the Old English word geong, meaning “young” or “sprightly”.

Interestingly, Genn is also an Old Dutch word meaning “to protect”, but it is unclear how this is connected to the surname. It is possible that the surname is used to denote one who is protective or kind-hearted.

Whether spelt as Genn, Gen, Gennis or Genny, these spellings are all connected to the same surname, and are likely to have a common origin.

Famous people with the name Genn

  • Michael Genn: an American playwright and screenwriter best known for writing the book for the musical The Prom.
  • Alexander Genn: a British actor who has appeared in films such as Peterloo and Mission Impossible: Fallout.
  • Jaap Genn: a Dutch footballer who played for Netherlands internationals before retiring in 2009.
  • Anna Genn: an Italian opera singer and soprano who still performs in Italy.
  • Cheryl Genn: a Canadian film director best known for films such as The Dark Side of the Heart and The War Bride.
  • Avigdor Genn: an Israeli lawyer and former minister of State for Legal Affairs and Legislation.
  • Dori Genn: a Russian contemporary artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world.
  • Meche Genn: a Venezuelan artist and illustrator who has worked for companies such as The New Yorker and Nike.
  • Warren Genn: an American documentary filmmaker and producer who has won and been nominated for several awards for his work.
  • Leon Genn: an English actor who has starred in films such as Patriot Games and The Long Good Friday.

Other surnames

GencGencaslanGencayGencelGencerGencogluGenctürkGeneGenealogical Forum of OregonGenealogical Society of Collier CountyGenetGeneweinGenksGennellGennettGennetteGenningsGensGenselGenseleinGenserGensertGensheimerGenshirtGensleGensleinGenslenGenslin

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