Jenkin - Surname History

Surname History

Jenkin is a surname variant of Jenkins commonly seen in Cornish and in English (mainly Devon) ancestry. Its translation is "Little John" or more literally "John the little." It first was found in Monmouthshire in the Domesday Book of 1086 and some say earlier than 1066 and the Norman Conquest of England.

Its common English use, eventually becoming a surname, may have come as a generic and now obsolete nickname as the "Little Johns." This may have been a 12th Century reference to the Cornish people (and later in reference to some Welsh) because of the relative smaller stature or more likely as a derogatory for the subjects or illegitimate offspring of King John of England, Earl of Cornwall and Gloucester (1166–1216).

Jenkin or Jenkins and its surname variants should not be confused as a shortened Jenkinson and its variants which refers to the son of "Little John."

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