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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The aim of the WINNEY One-Name study is to collect family history data on the names WINNEY, WHINNEY, WINNIE, WHINNIE, WINNY and WHINNY and to share data with others researching these names.

The study was started in April 2006 in support of my own Winney Family History research using information gathered since 2003.

The objectives are to:
* Collect and cross-reference available data about past and present holders of the name WINNEY, WHINNEY, WINNIE, WINNY, WHINNIE and WHINNY.
* Identify and document family trees.
* Make this data available to genealogical researchers and family historians researching their Winney ancestors.
* Exchange data with other researchers of the name willing to share data
* Analyse the data to establish regional links and origins.

Variant names

Are WINNEY, WHINNEY, WINNIE, WINNY, WHINNIE and WHINNY broadly in order of frequency of occurrence. Spelling has varied over the centuries. More than one spelling can appear on the same record and some individuals changed the spelling that they used during their lives. Other spellings encountered include WINEY and WHINEY. Antique spellings include WHINNE, WHYNNE, WYNNE, WYNEUE and WYNY. The rare surnames WENNEY and WHENNEY are recorded in East Anglia and Lincolnshire and sometimes these records are an incorrect spelling of Winney.

Name origin

The Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames suggests a possible origin for WINNEY as old English €Joy (of) Battle€, and for WHINNEY a place name Dweller on the whin covered hill€ perhaps Winnew in Thursley (Cumb) or from Whinnah in Lamplugh Cumb). The names previously shown together in the dictionary are now shown under separate entries.

The Internet Surname Database also suggests that this is an ancient surname of pre 7th century Olde English and Welsh-Celtic origins that derives either from the female personal name Wyngeofu€ meaning battle-joy€, or Winfridd€ meaning friend of peace€. 

These theories imply belief that the surname originated and survived for over 500 years before inherited surnames became usual in England and over 700 years before the name appears in the written record as a surname.  I leave it to the reader to decide which if any of these stories to believe.

Early examples of the surname given in the Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames from subsidy rolls are Robert WYNEUE and Benedict WYNYEUE 1327 (Suffolk) and John de WHINHOW 1332 (Cumberland) and it is likely that these are the earliest recorded instances of the surname in England and indicate at least two possible origins.

In the USA the name is known to be of Dutch origin from the earliest European settlers. The IGI includes records provided by family historians claiming ancestry back to Francis WINNIE baptised 1583 in Leeuwarden and Pieter WINNIE baptised 1609 in Ghent. More recent immigrants with the surname are recorded as originating from England, Ireland, and Germany.

Place names in England include Winney's Down on Dartmoor (grid square SX 6381), Whinneyfield Road in Tyne and Weir, and Whinnyfield Wood in Suffolk (grid square TL9841).

Historical occurrences of the name

* Cornelius WINNEY, of Dutch origin - Indian trader, lived in the Buffalo area around 1789-91 and may have been the first European to settle in the area. *Nancy Blumenstalk Mingus*. Colonel Proctor found him there in 1791, describing WINNEY as a Dutchman from the Hudson River Country, therefore his residence may be firmly dated from that year. *Stephen R Powell - The Buffalonian*.
* Mr WINNEY - lion and tiger tamer. Keeper of the lion, tigress and their offspring the 'liger' cubs in the menagarie of Thomas Atkins. *Circus Historical Society*.
* Two Presidents of the Institute of Chartered Accountants: Frederick WHINNEY - 1884-1888 (born 1829 in London, the son of a livery stable keeper) *Edgar Jones - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography* and Sir Arthur Francis WHINNEY KBE - 1926-27. *Ernst & Young*. Sir Arthur WHINNEY was appointed receiver and manager of the Austin Motor Company Ltd and it€'s Longbridge works on 26 April 1921. *Making cars at Longbridge - Gillian Bardsley & Colin Corke*.
* John Triggs WINNY - soap maker of Nayland, SFK. Registrar of Bures sub-district of Sudbury 1845-81, parish clerk, and census enumerator. Made his first Register entries on 1st January 1845 and his last on 28th June 1881, only 7 days before his own death. *Sudbury Register Office*.
* Sgt Dewitt WINNEY - killed in action at Little Big Horn 25 June 1876 and is listed on the *Battlefield Memorial* and in the *Douw Winney Cemetery, Saratoga*.
* Thomas Edmund WINNEY (aka WINNY) - member of the Vesta Rowing Club from 1884 until 1951, in which he was known as 'Guy'. His racing career was of almost unparalleled duration, for he took part in the Veterans€' VIIIs in 1937 at the age of 77, while the previous year he was in the winning crew in the Club August VIIIs. *Obituary - VESTA Rowing Club 1951 Annual Report and Fixtures 1952*.
* WINNEY - US Marshal for the Eastern District of Michigan - Cosgrove v Winney is a significant case relating to extradition arrangements between Canada and the USA. *US Supreme Court 174 US 64 - 7 Nov 1899*.
* Challis Frederick WINNEY (aka WINNY) - campanologist. Peals rung include one of 3 hours and 50 minutes on 9th August 1902, *Peels at Queens Tower*, and on 21 May 1923 the peal of 12,675 changes in 9hrs 47mins at Southwark, by the Ancient Society of College Youths, believed to be a record until 13 years later a close study of the published music revealed a repeat and the peal was declared 'false'. *The Southwark Cathedral Society of Bellringers*.
* Harold WINNEY - wrongly accused of murder in 1914 in Jackson, Michigan, was convicted and served 20 years in prison. *Deaf to Evidence by Peter Jackson*.
* Dr Margaret Dickens WHINNEY - 1894-1974 - Courtauld Institute scholar of medieval architecture and sculpture. *Dictionary of Art Historians*.
* Constable Robert Charles WINNEY - Port of London Authority Police - Killed by the detonation of an unexploded bomb 18 September 1940, aged 45. *Police Memorial*.
* Cdr Patrick Fife WHINNEY - 1912-2005 - landed and collected agents during WWII in the SOE and served under Ian Fleming. *Telegraph newspapers*.
* Alfred (Alf) Barclay WINNEY - Founder President of the Teeside and District Union of Golf Clubs (founded 29th May 1956). The North Yorkshire and South Durham Amateur Championship is played annually for the €A B Winney€ Trophy. *Teeside Golf Union*.
* Mike WINNEY F.I.C.E. (1943 - 2007) Editor Emeritus New Civil Engineer and judge for the British Construction Industry Awards. *New Civil Engineer*.
* WINI - bishop of London and Winchester (about 660). "For at that time Wini was the only bishop in all Britain who had been canonically consecrated" *Bede - A History of the English Church and People - translated by Leo Sherley-Price - Penguin Classics edition*. Basis of a 20th Century family joke 'Our lot were here before the Conqueror.'

Name frequency

The name is uncommon but not rare.

The England and Wales censuses indicate totals of all variants of about 250 in 1841, 440 in 1881, 550 in 1891 and 600 in 1901. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has records of 25 men killed in the two World Wars, including a civilian casualty.

The USA census of 1860 has a total nearly 800, by 1930 this had doubled to nearly 1600.

ONS statistics for 2002 indicate that at that time there were more than 900 people living in England and Wales with the name. Registered births from 1984 to 2004 are about 270.

Frequency of the name in the US 1990 census was less than 0.0005% of the total population and so too small to show a total, but this percentage of the total US population could be as many as 1700 people. reports over 4000 entries in all the released US censuses and nearly 1400 matches in the US immigration records, but these also include WINNE.

Distribution of the name

In the England and Wales 1881 census, using the surname atlas software, the major clusters of the name are in Suffolk and Essex; Gloucester, Herefordshire and the Welsh borders; and across the north of the country in Cumberland, Northumberland and Durham. These three concentrations also appear in the Boyd’s marriage index of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The variant with the H predominated in the North Country and variants without the H appeared more frequently in the South.

Both major varients are to be found in Scotland and Ireland.

In the USA records of the name cluster around New York State in and near the areas where Dutch settlement first occurred, for example the land records of Saratoga NY. As much as one-third of the 50 or so individuals listed as serving in the US Civil War appear to have been in New York regiments.

Present day distribution of the name also includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Germany.


At present the most detailed data held is of the WINNY families originating in the Dedham Vale area (popularly known as Constable Country) of south Suffolk.

Other data held includes:
* 1851 and 1881 census for England and Wales;
* Parts of other censuses relating to families in London, Suffolk, Essex, Gloucester and Herefordshire, and
* Extracts from Parish Records in these areas;
* Oddments of data relating to the name that have come to my attention;
* Extracts from the England and Wales BMD indexes from 1837 to 1983;
* Probate Records England and Wales - 1866-1941.

These BMD extracts, 1851 and 1881 Census, and Probate Records 1866-1941 may be viewed and searched in the *Guild Archive.*

Enquiries are welcome - contact details below.