Viking ships on the Normandy coast. Scene from the Bayeux tapestry.

Who Were The Very First Denney’s?

One theory that seems to have considerable merit is that the earliest Dennys were Vikings or North Men…

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It’s that time of year again, when we blow off the dust from boxes of documents, photos, and old handwritten notes, reactivate the Ancestry.com account, and continue exploring the family’s history.

The material quoted below comes from the work of Richard F. Denney.  His web site was one of the first I came across when I caught the genealogy virus, many moons ago.  I had occasion one time to correspond with Mr. Denney, helping to correct a minor error in the record of my grandfather Lorain Franklin Denney.  Sadly, Richard F. Denney passed away July of 2011.  His genealogical efforts are greatly appreciated.

While I am not able, for obvious reasons, to attest to the validity of the Viking theory, it fits with certain personal experiences of a particularly Jungian flavor that I’ve had over the years.

“The existence of these archaic strata is presumably the source of man’s belief in reincarnations and in memories of “previous experiences”. Just as the human body is a museum, so to speak, of its phylogenetic history, so too is the psyche.”

~C.G. Jung, “Conscious, Unconscious, and Individuation”, 1939

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Who Were The Very First Denney’s?

by Richard F. Denney

One theory that seems to have considerable merit is that the earliest Dennys were Vikings or North Men who settled along the Normandy Coast of France. French history tells of a Danish Prince named Bernard, who, along with his cousin Rollo, settled in Normandy. Members of this Norman colony or settlement of Danes were called the Danish Men or L’Denshmen or in French, L’Denne.

Some of these early Denshmen migrated across the Channel and settled in southern England.

Because of the unrest in the English country side, many of the Surrey Dennys migrated to Ireland and Scotland. Scotch and Irish Dennys were noted for large families. Many Dennys from England, Scotland and Ireland came to America in the late 1600s and early 1700s to escape hunger, unrest and religious persecution. Most of these people ended up in the Western Frontier which was then Western Pennsylvania.

Later, around the Daniel Boone era, many of these Dennys migrated on to Virginia, the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee. Others continued on into Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. As a matter of fact, Daniel Boone trapped on the Raccoon Creek, Gallia County, Ohio about the same time period as when the first Denneys were to arrive in that area and settled around the creek.


Samuel Denney (1635 – 1710), my 10th great-grandfather
Birth 1635 • Avon River section, England
Death 1710 • Tidewater region, Virginia, USA

James Denney (1777–1860), my 5th great-grandfather
Birth 1777 • Pilot Creek, Surry County, NC
Death 29 JUN 1860 • Gallipolis, Gallia, Ohio, USA

Featured Image:  Viking ships on the Normandy coast. Scene from the Bayeux tapestry.

2 comments on “Who Were The Very First Denney’s?”

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