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Our 2,744 members have registered
2,396 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

My cousin Francis Faunt began some work for our family in the 1980s.Our Great Grandfather Patrick Faunt was born in Limerick 1865 to father from Southern Tipperary. Francis tested his DNA in the Genographic study in 2004 and found he matches a Fant of Virginia. We evolved from there.

We have genetic 'cousins' named Fant Font and LaFonte from Cork, Liverpool and New Zealand and various US states.

We documented with birth,death and other records lines in Tipperary, Limerick and Cork in a triangle on the borderlands back to the 1600s and then occasionally back to 1250s.

Variant names

Fant Font L'enfant La Fonte Phant

Faunt is the Anglicized version of the Irish Fant surname. We find Fant and Faunt almost equally.
The Virginia Fant family is documented well except in the initial generations. Font seems to be a particular family who probably migrated from Ireland to England after 1780.

My own Faunts are seen as Fant in church records in 1840 but begin to spell it Faunt in the British Army in late 1850s.

Name origin

L'Enfant is perhaps the first we find the name in early times. Walter L'Enfant who became Justiciar of Ireland was in the employ of the King after 1250 AD. His father, probably also Walter held property in Ireland or England, perhaps both prior to 1250 .

There was a Nicholas le Enfaunt who served in Gascony as a knight of Henry III in 1253 with Ralph le Bigot ( Bigod), John de Burgo and many others. It would make perfect sense for this to be brother to Walter the Elder.
The entered into the retinue of this family surely with King John or before

Historical occurrences of the name

Per the book The Judges in Ireland , a knight, Sir Walter L'Enfant, no less distinguished on the field than in council was appointed the first Justice to hold the pleas in 1290 AD. Four years later he was superseded by another knight Sir Walter de la Haye who also served four years and retired. L'Enfant was reappointed in 1298 and served until 1309 assisted with the help of deputies.

Lenfant, Ffant and Faunts are military men in the earliest records. Kern and Horseman are appellations to describe them.

Name frequency

English & Welsh BMD for 1837-2006 number is 216

71 Faunts and 73 Fants in 1881 UK Census

Distribution of the name

In 1880 in the US about 45 Faunts and 900 Fants. Fants are mostly a southern US family but we those who have tested often match ( See the DNA stats)

England Wales BMD 1590- 1975 about 600 Fants and a bit more than 400 Faunts

Ireland less than 100 Faunts about 80 Fants. Earliest church records are 1600s but court documents show births in Ireland by 1250 ( one family at a time).These are usually L'Enfant,Lenfaunt, Ffante at that early time.


Much can be found regarding the family in the documents 'Who Was Who in Medieval Limerick' and 'Who Was Who in Early Modern Limerick ' as well as other emerging documents. Other documents now include the Henry III and William I household Rolls.

Men named Lenfant and Ffant continued in Henry V's employ at Rouen between 1417-19 including his siege of Rouen. 'On September 27 at Gisors 'John Lenfant, Peter Baygnart,John Brianenie,John Oysnel,Robert le Desmaude' and same to Robert de la Haie ,Oliver de Pierrepoint,William Osbert and William Lenfant.


22 males have currently tested their Y DNA at FTDNA
11 of these clearly have a common ancestor, and additionally there are 6 males who have tested elsewhere and match this group. These Fant, Faunt and Font males have roots in Ireland between the 12th and 19th centuries. Southern Ireland predominates with paper records showing constant occupation in a small area centered around Kilmallock Limerick, which includes Fermoy Cork, Galbally Limerick and Bansha Tipperary. Limerick County records for the mid 1500s show Kildare property being held by the Limerick family. There are at least 4 separate lineages included in this Munster group. The Haplogroup is I2a1* described in research as I2a1 Sardinian. Neolithic burial sites situate members of this group in the Midi-Pyrenees.

2 of the men share a common ancestor from Westmeath who is first found in Irish records in 1750.They later remove to Cork, Canada and Australia. Their Haplogroup is R1b1a2.

The remainder of testees are from other countries and did not expect to match, are unsure of their oldest paternal ancestor or carry a different surname.

Therefore, with a small in number surname, there are more than 30 testees. This includes autosomal Testing at 23andme and AncestryDNA. The preponderance of testers match each other in a haplogroup called 'Sardinian I2a1' which has origins in the south of France. They are political Normans and are found in Limerick by 1200 when David L'Enfant testified before the Inquisition as being a 'Citizen' of Limerick. We find them in this locale for almost 700 years.

First testers in 2004-5 were a Faunt whose ancestor came to New Jersey US in 1869 and a Fant from Virginia whose ancestor shows up around 1671. The rest is history so to speak.
James Fant is the Admin. of the DNA group and Kathleen Carrow Ingram Co-Admin.

 A few testers from both Fant and Faunt autosomal matches match  others who are close to them in time and place,  a few Virginia Fants match others and at AncestryDNA some Faunt testers match persons in Ireland and UK ( that may disappear with IBS matches being worked on). Some of us are on Gedmatch M103328,M100434,F218282