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Origins and incidence of the Sennett name and variants

Surname Origins

The Surname database project (http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/sennett) gives the origin of the surname SENNETT as coming from the pre 7th century Olde English personal name Sigenoth meaning ‘victory-brave’.  This origin is confirmed by Nigel H Sinnott in ‘Sennett, Sinnott, Sionoid, Synnot and Related Surnames’  (Thule Press 1999, ISBN 0-646-37065-0).   Sinnott also notes Domesday Book for Hertfordshire references to Sinod, Saint Mary of Chatteris’s man, with variants starting to appear as surnames by 1200 in England.

In Co. Wexford, Ireland, the main origin is likely to be Synads or Sinnotts from the Flemish colonies in Wales, who were recruited as mercenaries by Hervey de Monte Marisco, and ‘Strongbow’ – Richard FitzGilbert de Clare, as part of Dermot MacMurroughs invastion force seeking to regain his kingdom of Leinster which he had lost in 1166.   Successes in battle resulted in Sinnotts being granted land in Co Wexford, with their principal estate being Ballybrennan, and in Forth, Bargy and Shelmalier Sinnotts and Synnotts became prominent landowners, although as loyalists, many of their lands were later confiscated.

It is likely that there are several other separate origins of the name, and in more recent generations there are also many instances of anglicisation of jewish or germanic surnames to Sennett or variants in both the UK and North America as well.

Frequency of the Sennett name

(please see http://www.britishsurnames.co.uk/surnames/SENNETT/ for up to date data).

Frequency of the SENNETT surname from the above website was about 8 per million people in 1881 in the UK, and about 11 per million in the UK now.  In the US, current frequency is about 7 per million, with about 3 per million in Australia.  In spite of the Irish origins of most of these, there are very few people in Ireland using this spelling.

Frequency of the SINNOTT/SINNETT surnames appears to be slightly higher than SENNETT, and SYNNOTT slightly lower.  Sinnott and Synnott are the most common forms in Ireland.

The main countries this surname is associated with are the UK and Ireland,  and USA.  There are currently just under 500 people with the Sennett surname in the UK and just over 1800 in the US.  There are smaller numbers in many other countries, most of whom have English or Irish origins.  There are less Sennetts  than might be expected in Canada, as most of the Irish Sinnott or Synnott immigrants retained those spellings rather than it being changed to Sennett (as in the UK or US).  Some of the american Sennett lines appear to have begun with germanic migrants who anglicised their original name to Sennett.

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