Stephens Family History
The ancient origin of the name Stephens
was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Stephens is a baptismal name meaning 'son of Stephan', a name of great antiquity. Variants include Stephen, Stephenson, Stephan, Stevens, Stevenson, Steavenson and Stennett. This name is of Anglo-Norman descent spreading to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in early times and is found in many mediaeval manuscripts in the above countries. Examples of such are a Gilbert fil Stephani, County Lincolnshire, and a Richard Stephen, County Oxfordshire, who were recorded in the 'Hundred Rolls', England, in the year 1273. An Anthony Stevens, County Wiltshire, was registered in the University of Oxford, in the year 1600. An Alexander Stevyn was a tenant of Glenboy, Scotland, in the year 1472, and a John Stevenson was a merchant in Aberdeen, Scotland, in the year 1454. The name was introduced by the Normans, with whom it was a great favorite, its use due to Christian tradition.
In Ireland this name and its variants were introduced into Ulster Province by settlers who arrived from England and Scotland, especially during the seventeenth century. During the 'Plantations of Ireland' in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Ireland was colonized by the English Crown with this period marking the end of Gaelic supremacy in Ireland. This period brought an influx of settlers into the country but, unlike the earlier Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century that resulted in a full integration into Irish society of the new arrivals, the same never occurred with the Ulster Planters who maintained their own distinct identity.
The variants Steenson and Stinson are also well known in Ulster.The Stephens
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Stephens