Where does the Eanes family name come from?
About three hundred years ago our ancestor, Edward Eanes, arrived in Tidewater Virginia on a ship from England. Charles Hudson and John Bradley received 608 Acres in Henrico County, on the north side of the James River, on the Bever Pond Branch, for the transport of 13 persons (possibly indentured servants) from England. One of the names is Edward Eanes and the date was June 16, 1714.
Virginia was settled at that time largely from Southern England, so we can guess he came from there. However, there is no record of the Eanes name in England. Where did the name and the man come from?
Adding to the mystery of the name is the fact that early church records, from Bristol (Anglican) Parish, record the name spelled phonetically as Yanes in baptismal records. The person recording the name was spelling what he heard. This spelling is odd and seems to reflect either a weird use of Y as a vowel (extremely rare in English) or is indicating the Y as a consonant, though the name as currently pronounced most certainly begins with a long E.
The mystery was solved in 1974 when a group of Army officers overthrew the right-wing dictator of Portugal and installed as president a certain Antonio Ramhollo Eanes as president. Anyone in America with the surname Eanes took notice: this person had a name spelled like ours! Further, the name as pronounced in the broadcast media was something like “Yawnish” a most unusual name. A family historian subsequently wrote the president of Portugal and received back a letter explaining the pronunciation (the letter indicated the name was should be pronounced “Yeenez,” a derivative of “Johannes,” or son of John, or in English, “Johnson.”) The Y as a consonant at the beginning, no matter how the following vowels are pronounced, solved the problem of the Parish records of the 1720’s: the first Eanes spelled his name like we do now, but pronounced is like the Portugese. This, at least, is my supposition.
I would be happy to know if anyone has any other documentation that would challenge or support this.