The King Family
The Ancestors of Elizabeth King
Robert Henry King

King Family Album

G5 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
G4 James King
( - )
Margaret unknown
( - )
Samuel Tennant
(ca 1830 - )
Elizabeth Giers (or Ciers)
( - )
G3 Robert Henry King
(ca 1848 - 1892)
Florence Seabee Adelaide Tennant
(ca 1855 - 1940)
G2 Elizabeth King
(1878 - 1971)
=ca 1900
David MacKay
(1874 - 1952)
King is usually an English-derived name in Ireland. But since the seventeenth century it has also been widely used as an anglicised form of several names assumed to be connected with the term 'R - King'. For example the names Conry, Conroy, Cunree, MacAree and MacKeary have all been anglicised as King. However, in the 1659 mapping, King is uniquely associated with Co. Westmeath - and this is likely to represent the rare name Cionga which belongs to the shores of Lough Ree. By the time of Griffith's Valuation, the surname King has assimilated a number of such distinct Irish names.

Our King family appear to have come from the town of .

It is of course equally likely that the family were Scottish or English settlers. This map shows the distribution of the surname in Great Britain in 1881.

The earliest reference to this name is William, tenant of Crestone in the county of Linlescu, in the Ragman Rolls of 1296. His seal bears the symbol of a large dog.

In 1309 Thomas Tenaunt was one of the witnesses in the enquiry involving the Templars and in 1339 John Tenant is mentioned as being one of the garrison of Edinburgh Castle. John Tennand was among the burgesses of Stirling who attacked the cruives (fish-traps) and fishings of the abbot and convent of Cambuskenneth in 1366. Lord Glenconner derives from the family of Tennant of the "Glen" in Ayrshire.

John Tennant of Glenconner (1726-1810) was a friend of the poet Robert Burns (1759-96). In 1885 Charles Tennant (1823-1906) was created a baronet. His oldest son, Sir Edward Tennant (1859-1920), Lord Lieutenant of Peebles 1908-20, was made 1st Lord of Glenconner in 1911.

In 1776 John and Robert Tennent founded the famous public brewery which still bears their names.

The Tennants are essentially a Lowland family who do not possess a chief, nor do they have a crest, motto, war cry or plant badge. No Arms have been recorded in the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh. There is however a Tennant tartan which appears to have been designed by the father of Captain Ian Tennant, Innes House, Elgin, around 1930 which is believed to have been adapted from the Hunting MacDuff. There are no objections to anyone bearing the name Tennant or Tenant wearing this tartan.

Some clues to their origin may be in the distribution of the Tennant surname in 1881.

Notes & References
  1. Griffith Valuation
  2. Electric Scotland