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Fann Name Study

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Location: North Carolinamap
Surname/tag: Fann
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Goals, Progress and Identification Accomplishments

This Fann Project One Name Study aims to collect together in one place everything about the Fann surname and may also discuss and better document the variants of that name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect. Please submit your suggestions for improvements to this project page through the Comments section or by writing directly to the profile manager.

A Note on Fann Origins

Some experts on the origins of surnames suggest that Fann[1] referred to persons with origins in fens, defined as one of the four main types of wetland (the others being grassy marshes, forested swamps and peated bogs).[2] As a locational surname, it was one of the earliest usages of calling a person by the name of the nearest feature to his or her home.

A Partial List of Variants (not included in this Fann Project)

SurnameDB lists these variants:

  • Fenn
  • Venn
  • Vaun
  • Vaune
  • Vance
  • Vanns
  • Van
  • Fenning
  • Fanning

Note that connections of the Fann lines to the above variants excludes at least one other:

  • Fannin

Fann in History

SurnameDB[1] reports that the earliest recorded use of del Fan appeared in the Essex County Memoranda Roll charter of 1199 that named John del Fan. SurnameDB indicates that Alice Fann was recorded in the Norfolk County church register upon her 8 Oct 1593 marriage at St Gregory, Norwich to Thomas Preston. A more recent usage was recorded for Robert Fenn, son of William and Ann Fenn, who was christened at St Mary Coslany, Norwich 13 Jan 1705.

Fann Soldiers from Sampson County, North Carolina in the Civil War

Sons of John Carney Fann I (abt.1803-abt.1900) of Sampson County, North Carolina, who served or died during the Civil War are shown.[3] Those sons who died during the war were buried at Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.

  1. John Carney Fann (abt.1834-1862), Enlisted 1 Aug 1861, Confederate States of America (CSA), Company H, wounded at Malvern Hill, died 16 Jul 1862 in Richmond, Virginia
  2. Richard H Fann (1836-1922), Enlisted 1862
  3. Wiley Fann (abt.1839-1864), Enlisted 11 Oct 1862, CSA, Company K, who died 23 Jun 1864 in Stuart Hospital, Richmond, Virginia
  4. Owen Fann (abt.1839-1862), CSA Corporal at the Battles of Mechanicsville and Cold Harbor, who died 26 Jul 1862 in Wayside Hospital, Richmond, Virginia
  5. James D Fann (abt.1842-1862), Enlisted Jun 10 1861, CSA, Company I, who died 23 Jul 1862 in Richmond City, Henrico, Virginia after the Peninsula Campaign
  6. Doctor Alsworth Fann (1846-1921), Enlisted Apr 1864, CSA, Company A

Notable Fanns

Fanns attending Sampson County Fann School in 1925

From Fann School. Edition 1. 23 Apr 1925, image 11. Clinton, North Carolina: The Sampson Independent. The Fann school was located on the Dunn public road, Salemburg, Sampson County, North Carolina, which later renamed Fann School Road. In 1925, eighty pupils were enrolled in the two-room schoolhouse, and seven grades were taught. Only those with the surname Fann are below listed. Bettie Fisher was intermediate teacher and principal.

  1. Grady Stewart Fann (1918-1996), son of Radford Fann (1887-1964) and Lena Carrie (Honeycutt) Fann (1889-1973),[4][5] primer
  2. Berthat Fann primer
  3. Roland Nixon Fann (1915-1980) son of Radford Fann (1887-1964) and Lena Carrie (Honeycutt) Fann (1889-1973),[6][7] 1st grade
  4. Oleva Fann 1st grade (possibly Eva Kate (Fann) Spell, sister of Grady Stewart and Roland Fann)
  5. John Alton Fann (1914-1974), son of William Erastus Fann (1878-1948) and Georganna (Knowles) Fann (1876-1967)[8] 1st grade
  6. Alvin Fann 2nd grade
  7. Brilla Fann 4th grade (pre-Salemburg high school)
  8. Rovanie (Fann) Grantham (1909-1984), daughter of William Erastus Fann (1878-1948) and Georganna (Knowles) Fann (1876-1967)[9] 6th grade (pre-Salemburg high school)
  9. Bula Fann 4th grade
  10. Graham Dixon Fann (1912-1961), son of Radford Fann (1887-1964) and Lena Carrie (Honeycutt) Fann (1889-1973),[10] 5th grade
  11. Paulina (Fann) Herring (1913-1981), daughter of William Erastus Fann (1878-1948) and Georganna (Knowles) Fann (1876-1967)[11] 6th grade

Other Fanns attending Sampson County Schools

  1. Paul Fann 3rd grade (Piney Green School)
  2. Seavey Fann 4th grade (Piney Green School)
  3. Howard Fann 7th grade (Piney Green School)

Other Ways to Participate

Please contact the Study's coordinator Porter Fann or post a comment at the foot of this Fann Project page. If you have any questions, just ask. Thanks!

Task List

  1. To place the category on surname Fann profiles, thus including them in the Fann Project Study
  2. To narrow down these categories geographically so that we can group and distinguish, e.g., Sampson County, North Carolina Fanns, Wayne County, North Carolina Fanns, or if the state of origin alone is all that is known, Virginia Fanns, etc. [ [Category:Sampson County, North Carolina, Fann Name Study] ] is an example
  3. To better document the meaning and origin of the Fann name
  4. To map out migration of the surname Fann
  5. To locate Fanns in all United States census records, all records in England & Wales, and other national census records as warranted

DNA Study

Please refer to Fann & Fenn Study at FamilyTreeDNA Fann & Fenn.


Family Histories that Feature Fann

Descendants of Jesse Fann from Virginia, Robert Brasseur from France, John Wesley B Brashears from Virginia, William Burch from Virginia; a family history with the history & geography of the era & area.
See also: (Fenn) 1992: Footprints & wagon tracks : addendum to part III, Brasseur, & part IV, Brashears. 1992. Manvel, Texas: D Fenn; and, of an unknown date, a 2nd edition.

WikiTree Resources

Contributions by Year from the Project Manager

  1. 30 Fann profiles in year 1, 2018 (#1 Fann contributor that year)
  2. 17 Fann profiles in year 2, 2019 (#3 Fann contributor that year)
  3. 41 Fann profiles in year 3, 2020 (#1 Fann contributor that year)
  4. 13 Fann profiles in year 4, 2021 (#1 Fann contributor that year)
  • Includes both new Fann profiles created or updates to existing profiles.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Last name: Fann. SurnameDB: The Internet Surname Database © Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017. Accessed 29 Apr 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Fen," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 29 Apr 2020.
  3. Bizzell, Oscar M, ed. The Heritage of Sampson County, NC. Article 619: John C Fann Family; See also Article 368F: Confederates Soldiers from Sampson County for the sons who died (4) or served (+2) in the Civil War. 1983, p. 405-6 & 226. Newton Grove & Winston-Salem, North Carolina: The Sampson County Historical Society & Hunter Publishing Company.
  4. "North Carolina, Center for Health Statistics, Vital Records Unit, County Birth Records, 1913-1922", database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:CD7L-DBW2 : 6 March 2020), Grady Stewart Fann, 1918.
  5. "United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT), 1936-2007", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6KS8-WZ12 : 10 February 2023), Grady Stewart Fann.
  6. "North Carolina, Center for Health Statistics, Vital Records Unit, County Birth Records, 1913-1922", database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:HYDZ-3PPZ : 10 February 2020), Roland Nixon Fann, 1915.
  7. "North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGKY-GX4 : 29 September 2022), Roland Nixon Fann, 1980.
  8. "North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FP4Z-T78 : 29 September 2022), John Alton Fann, 1974.
  9. "North Carolina Deaths and Burials, 1898-1994", database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:H4YH-C4PZ : 21 January 2020), Rovanie Fann Grantham, 1984.
  10. "North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGYS-Y27 : 29 September 2022), Graham Dixon Fann, 1961.
  11. "North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGLX-N3F : 29 September 2022), Paulina Fann Herring, 1981.

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Comments: 2

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I have another variant of the surname Fann, "Fannin" as in Bryan Fannin from Virginia born in 1802 (I haven't made a profile for yet) and I guess you don't want this included in your name study but if you could just add it to the list of variants. I can't start a new name study because I'm at my limit according to Wikitree.
posted by Keith Cook
Thanks for that, Keith. If you do find a connection between Fannin and Fann, please let me know.
posted by Porter Fann