Select Mann Surname Genealogy

Mann meaning “man” is Germanic in origin and was probably brought to England by Saxon settlers prior to the Norman Conquest.  Its earliest connotation seems to have been as a nickname for someone of heroic stature who was fierce and strong.  Later the meaning appears to have been reversed and Man or Mann became an occupational name for a servant or someone who, in the feudal sense, owed a service.   

The Scottish version of Mann, found in NE Scotland, was a corruption of the Scandinavian Magnus name.  The Jewish Mann name is largely ornamental

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There are some 20,000 Manns in Germany today, with the main concentration being in Saxony in SE Germany. However, the most famous German Mann - the writer Thomas Mann - came from the town of Lubeck in northern Germany.

EnglandThe early evidence of the Man or Mann surname in England was along the east coast, from northern Kent through East Anglia to Yorkshire.

East Coast
The Saxon family of Man in Kent was of importance before the Conquest. Their first seat was in the parish of Bredgar where they gave their name to an estate known as Mann's Manor.  

Later Mans or Manns were:
  • William Man who appeared in Yorkshire as early as 1185 in the register of the Knights Templar.  There was a Mann family at Doncaster in south Yorkshire by 1500.  William Man was recorded at Bramley Grange in north Yorkshire as early as 1481.  Mann families were still farming in the area in 1841.
  • the Manns of Ipswich in Suffolk who were established in the town also around 1500.  Edward Mann married Dorothy Mannock there in 1625.  From this line came Robert Mann, a successful London merchant, and Galfridus Mann, successful also as an army clothier.  The Mann baronets of Linton Hall in Kent ensued in 1755, the first being a diplomat abroad and the second a cricket lover at home.
  • Richard Mann, the son of Samuel and Ann Mann, who was born in Norwich in 1611.  He was an emigrant to New England in the 1630's.  John Mann was mayor of Norwich in 1653.
  • while a Mann family at Hatfield Broad Oak in Essex has been evident from the 1600's to the 1900's.  One line of this family came to Ireland in 1633.  Another Essex line has been traced back to William Mann who married Mary Harvey in Colchester in the 1730's.
Elsewhere.  The Man or Mann name also appeared in some west country outposts.   The clergyman John Man who became Dean of Gloucester in 1566 was born in the village of Lacock in Wiltshire.  Another John Man was a prominent Dorset merchant four times the mayor of Poole in the mid-1500's.  Manns at Widecombe-in-the-Moor in Devon also dated from the 16th century. 

Scotland.  Man or Mann in Scotland is a shortened form of the Scandinavian Magnus name.  Traditionally they have come from NE Scotland and been associated with the Gunn clan there.  George Fraser Black in his 1946 The Surnames of Scotland recorded the following early Mans in that part of Scotland.  

“John Man was admitted as a burgess of Aberdeen in 1399; while Christina Man was recorded in Aberdeen in 1411.  Andrew Man was resident in Brechin in 1472 and Andro Man was executed in Aberdeen in 1597 for witchcraft.” 

Many Manns departed the area in the 19th century, to Canada in particular.  Angus has the largest number of Manns in Scotland today

Ireland.  Manns in Ireland are most likely to be found in Ulster.

Henry Mann from Essex arrived in 1633 and settled in county Cork.  The line from his son Deane established itself at Dunmoyle township in Tyrone.   When some money came into the family in the mid-1800's they built Dunmoyle Lodge.

Mann in Antrim could be Scottish or even Irish (as a contraction of Mahon) in origin.  Some Scots Irish Manns, such as John Mann in 1732, departed early, in his case to Pennsylvania.  Joseph Mann was a pawnbroker from Glasgow who set up his business in Belfast in 1858.  He and his wife Kate raised ten children there.
America.  English Manns came first, followed by larger numbers of Manns from Germany - on the basis of the passenger arrival records of their country of origin.

New England.   There were two notable early Mann lines in New England:
  • Richard Mann from Norfolk who arrived in Scituate, Massachusetts in 1636. 
  • and William Mann from Kent who came to Cambridge, Massachusetts sometime in the 1640's.
Richard Mann's line was first traced in George Mann's 1884 book Mann Memorial.  Seven generations of his family lived in Scituate, including five in the Mann farmhouse which has recently been restored as a museum. 

One line through his grandson Nathaniel Mann settled in Hebron, Connecticut and, after the Revolutionary War, in Utica, New York.  Abijah and Charles Mann were New York Congressmen there.  Charles’s son Matthew was one of the physicians who attended President William McKinley after he had been shot in 1901

William's line extended to his son the Rev. Samuel Mann, who was born in Cambridge in 1647, and much later to Horace Mann who made his mark reforming the public school system in Massachusetts in the 1840's.  One line from Timothy Mann, who was apparently ostrasized by the family in 1758 for marrying an Indian girl, made their home in Dummerston, Vermont.

Virginia.  The Virginia settlers were first English, and then Irish and German.

Robert Mann dated from about 1642 in Henrico county.  He grew tobacco on the southside of the James river basin and above the Appomattox river in an area known as the Mann triangle.  Thomas Mann meanwhile had come to Nansemond county sometime in the 1650’s.  Later Thomas Manns of his family settled in North Carolina.

Augusta county could boast both Scots Irish and German Manns.

John Mann who came from Northern Ireland in 1735 was an early settler in Augusta county.   He was a blacksmith living on the south side of Peaked Mountain.   Legend has it that he and his family lived in a saltpetre cave when they first arrived from Ireland.  Son William, an Indian trader who settled in Botetourt county, died of his wounds from an Indian attack in 1778.  His descendants Isaac and Edwin Mann were prominent businessmen in Bramwell, West Virginia a century or so later.

In 1732 Jerg Bernhart Mohn aka George Bernhart Mann had made his way with his family from their home in the German Palatinate via Rotterdam to Philadelphia.  Twelve years later they were also in the Peaked Mountain area of Augusta county.  Their son George, born in America in 1734, migrated west to Kentucky and Ohio.  His story was narrated in Dorothy Knoff's 1977 book Goerge Adam Mann: A Family on Four Frontiers.

Elsewhere.  Pennsylvania also had Mann Irish and German arrivals.  Peter Mann from the Rhineland Palatinate, for instance, arrived in Philadelphia with his family on the Royal Union in 1750.  They settled in Bethel township, Bedford county.

Thomas Mann, who was born in Ireland and came to America sometime in the 1760’s, was the forebear of the Mann axe-making family of central Pennsylvania.  William Mann began this enterprise with his brother Harvey in 1825.  Four generations of the family were active in axe manufacture for close on a hundred years.

Isaac Mann was born in New York and lived there at the time of the Revolutionary War, serving as a colonel in the British militia under Burgoyne.  As a Loyalist in a losing cause he was granted lands in Canada.  In 1784 he settled in the Gaspe region of Quebec with his three sons.  They made their home in what became known as the Mann Settlement

A much later arrival was Daniel Mann from upstate New York, a soldier in the American Civil War, who came to St. Thomas in SW Ontario with his family shortly thereafter.  They were among its first settlers.  Daniel's line extended back to Captain Benjamin Mann from Massachusetts who fought in the Revolutionary War and to James Mann who was born in Boston around the year 1690.

Some Scottish Manns headed for Canada in the 19th century.  Their numbers included:
  • and Donald Mann from Glengarry in Invernessshire who came to Acton, Ontario in the 1840's.  His grandson Sir Donald Mann was a prominent Canadian railroad contractor and enterpreneur of the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Australia.  Charles Mann from Suffolk trained as a lawyer in London and came out to South Australia in 1837 as its first Advocate General.  He was married four times.  Three of his sons survived him, the eldest Charles serving four times in the 1880's as Attorney General of South Australia.

Select Mann Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Mann Names

John Man
was a Protestant cleric who was made Dean of Gloucester in 1566.
Horace Mann who was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837 has been called the father of American public school education.
Sir Donald Mann was a leading Canadian railroad contractor of the late 19th century.
Al Mann was a Jewish entrepreneur who founded many successful companies in the American aerospace and medical industries in the second half of the 20th century.
Shelly Manne was a prominent American jazz drummer, usually associated with West Coast jazz.

Select Manns Today
  • 27,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 35,000 in America (most numerous in California) 
  • 20,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

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