Eanes Family History

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.

59 thoughts on “Eanes Family History

  1. This is a most interesting posting. I have asked the writer to submit some documentation–since this would be proof of the origin of the Eanes name. Can you provide some documentation?

    • This is really interesting. In mapping my genome on 23andMe, my DNA showed a small percentage Ashkenazi Jewish heritage on my father’s side.

  2. Wow!!! I’m VERY interested in where my family came from so I can pass that information onto my kids. I heard there was a prince in Portugal with the last name Eanes (and that side of my family is “tan” in my opinion) but I had no clue they were (or may have been Jewish). So cool! Please email me if you have any other info!!

  3. I’m a direct descendent of Edward Eanes and have seen a copy of the book mentioned above, though I’m not sure who in my family has it now. Our branch of the family eventually settled in Davidson County, NC. My great-grandfather was Thomas Shell Eanes and grandfather was Ralph Hill Eanes, Sr. I have photographs dating back to the 1800s that I’ll try to dig up, but I’m not sure if there’s a way to post photographs here.

    I’ve actually been to the Gil Eanes statue and local museum in Lagos, Portugal that have a model of his ship. Very few Eaneses exist there now. They pronounce it “In-ej” there.

  4. Thanks for the information on the Eanes Family. I am going to look into purchasing the book, as I would be interested in reading it.

    Since 1995, I’ve been working on my family tree, but haven’t focused very much on the Eanes line. The last two (2) years I’ve started doing a little more research.

    My great, grandmother was Lillian M. Eanes, born in Lynchburg, Virginia. As a child, we used to go visit her. She raised my mother and her brother after their father passed away.

  5. This is all so interesting. The farthest I can go back in my Eanes family is 1800. They were born and lived in Petersburg,VA. I learned a few years ago from reading things such as this there was a possible connection to Portugal and read about Gil Eanes. But Jewish-I would love to learn more.

  6. Shirley was you grandmother named Virginia by any chance?
    I have heard stories also that the name Eanes was a corrupted selling of Innes due to the fact that most people who came ashore in America had their names recorded by people who could not understand their accents or spelled them how they sounded

    • Hi my grandmother was Ethel Dalton Foster and I have been tracing my history I know for sure that Dalton ,Peirce, Eanes were all related I believe my Great great great great great great grandfather was Arthur Eanes he was born around 1760 and died in Pittslyvania Va which is now the biggest county in VA.

  7. I’ve heard there are large Eanes family reunions in Chesterfield County, Virginia. I live near Washington, DC in Alexandria, VA. I would be interested in attending one of these events! Also, it would be nice to update Richard H. Eanes’ 1968 book or have a nationwide genealogical event as we are ALL related to Edward…

  8. Ron,

    Even though I now live in Oklahoma, I would enjoy attending one of the events.

    I’m looking into locating a copy of Richard H. Eanes’ 1968 book, as I would truly enjoy seeing what he wrote about our family.

    My maternal great grandmother was a Eanes. She never spoke about her family and my mother doesn’t know much about her family. I do know that she was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, as well as my grandfather.


    • Shirley,
      I’m not sure where you are in Oklahoma but I am also! My grandfather is Fred Alson Eanes.
      Maybe if we don’t live too far away we can get together. I’m on ancestry and have done the tree back as far as I can.


      • Shirley,

        I’m at Fort Sill with my husband but if I’m in the Tulsa area I will definitely see if your available for coffee or tea;-)


      • Christel,

        I see you are in Lawton. I’ve been down there before.

        That sounds great. I’m going to be moving starting on April 1, 2018.

        Even though I owned my home in Virginia, I have never purchased one here in Tulsa, so I still rent an apartment and have decided to move to another complex after seven (7) years.

        I don’t believe I’m going to have the same phone number. My current home number is (918) 296-9993.

        Have a very lovely day and weekend,

  9. On January 4, 2015, I posted that my great grandmother Lillian Eanes was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, as that is what her (possibly third) husband put on her death certificate.

    Unfortunately, for years I’ve been searching for her death record in Lynchburg, Virginia. I also always thought her middle name was “Mae,” but her death certificate said it was “Mildred.” My mother said she really wasn’t sure.

    Yet, when I went through the census, I found her in Pittsylvania County, Virginia with her mother and siblings. It seems that her father died when she was about two (2) years old. I kept wondering how she was born in Lynchburg, if the family was listed in the Pittsylvania County, Virginia census.

    So, I ordered her Social Security Application that she had filled out and signed in 1972, which I just received. She states that she was born in Chatham, Pittsylvania County, Virginia and that her middle name was “Mildred.”

    When her brother, Jeff passed away, his obituary does not list her, even though she was living in Alexandria, Virginia at that time.

    Now I am real curious as to how she ended up in Alexandria, Virginia, when it looks like most of the family stayed in Chatham, Virginia. As well, as how my grandfather ended up being born in Lynchburg, Virginia.

  10. Hi Shirley,
    Please give me your great grandmother’s date of birth and your uncle Jeff’s full name if you know it. I have the Eanes book and I will see if some of your family contributed to it. There is no Lillian Mae Eanes, but there are Jefferson Marshall Eanes, Jefferey Eanes, and Jeffery Charles Eanes listed. Maybe one of them is your uncle.

  11. Eanes is found both in Wales and in the Isle of Man. In those Celtic areas, it is a form of the Latin name Iohannes. If you look at the Gaelic and Latin language primary sources in western Scotland you find the name often. My own surname McCain, from Mac Eáin. The Manx were Gaelic speaking of course. The Cymraeg (Welsh) version is usually spelled Eoan, but this became anglicised as Ean often. I do find it interesting that the archaic northern Iberian form is identical.

    • I for many years heard we descended from Scottish origin but never have truly known. My dad’s family lived in Goodlettsville TN. Do you know if any of the Eanes gravitated to TN from VA ?

  12. All I can say is this: I have a picture of my great grandfather and great grandmother in which he looks very Portuguese. I also have a second cousin Eanes whose father descends from another line from the immigrant Edward Eanes and my cousin is tall blond and I think blue eyed not a short man with dark coloring as my great grandfather was. I have been wondering about this for some time. There is no Eanes DNA project that I know of. My second cousin could be descended from someone who was adopted by one of the early Eanes families.

    Since my maternal grandmother was an Eanes and she had only one brother who I think is the father or grandfather of Mary Eanes Wright, I have no male to ask to do the test.

    I have done the DNA test on my aunt, a first cousin Oakes, a second cousin Oakes and my brother. It has opened up a whole new world of genealogical study for me. I have about three time matched people who found out that their male line did not match the men in their family, but matched another family.

    One woman had heard from relatives that the man she thought was her grandfather was not, but the neighboring farmer who was an Eanes was her real grandfather. She did match me and a second cousin once removed who was an Eanes, so I think that what she was told was correct.

    We really need to do some DNA testing here.

    Janice Branch Fox
    Great Granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson Eanes
    PS I want to post that picture of my TJE, but my husband said that he did not know how to do it. I think I will ask again.

    • Hi. I’m Bonnie Martin. My maiden name was “Eanes” from Henry County, Virginia 24148. I recently submitted an Ancestry.com DNA test and the results came back as follows: 37% Ireland/Scotland/Wales; 35% Europe West; 10% Scandinavian; 8% Great Britain; 7% Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal); and 3% Europe East. I have traced my ancestors back to an Edward Eanes (1658 ?) his wife Mary Vaden 1658-1714. After that was a Henry Eanes, Sr.; a Henry Eanes, Jr.; another Edward Eanes; another Henry Eanes & wife Sarah; Henry Woodson Eanes 1821-1870 & his wife Elizabeth C. Griggs (1828-1899); then my great grandfather Josiah S. Eanes (1849-1933) & his wife Melissa Ella Griffith; my grandfather George Thomas Eanes, Sr. (1883-1965) & grandmother Erie Maude Hardy (1889-1970); father George T. Eanes, Jr. (1922-2002) & mother Ruby Whitlow Eanes (1918-1990). Daddy was the only boy in his family and he had two daughters no sons, so his branch ended with my sister and I.

      • Bonnie,

        Hi! I also did ancestry and had similar resuIts. You may be able to look me up on Ancestry and see who I’m already connected to on the Eanes side. If you would like to email me, please do. Christelworkman@gmail.com

    • If what I have found is true, it appears your great grandfather Thomas Jefferson Eanes and my great grandfather Josiah S. Eanes, were brothers. Sons of Henry Woodson Eanes & Elizabeth C. Griggs.

      • Hi, I have misplaced on old computer a photo of Cary Winston Eanes in a military outfit. My late Uncle was an Eanes from Petersburg, Virginia. He was however unaware of his true identity. My Late mother told me when I questioned the difference in appearance from my father and his brothers. My Uncle had wavy dark black hair with the darkest brown eyes. He was slender and medium height. I would love to find any photos of Eanes Family members, particularly the males in the family. Eanes is a well known last name in Petersburg, Virginia. I thank you for any photos of Eanes Family Members. My Late Uncle never knew his Father was Cary Winston Eanes and my Late Uncle was born in Petersburg, Virginia around 1932.

      • Trish Powell-who was your uncle? Cary Eanes Sr. was my grandfather,his son Cary Jr. was my dad. I have plenty of photos. I live right near Petersburg.

      • Dear Sue, Thankful you asked!!!! My Uncle was Named Herbert Lee Blank, and nicknamed “Nickey”. My grandmother was married to my grandfather Louis Blank of Dinwiddie County, Va. My Dad was Samuel Jessie Blank.
        My father’s sister lives in Colonial Heights. She is Helen Johnson. My mother Dorothy Davis Blank from Petersburg, Va. told me when I asked why my Uncle Nickey had beautiful olive skin darkest brown eyes and gorgeous black wavy hair. My Mom said your grandmother Mamie Blank had an affair with Cary Eanes of Petersburg, va. My mother told me my Grandfather always knew the truth however a great man who raised my Uncle as his own. My mom attended Petersburg High School. She went to school with two young girls Who I believe were your Aunts. I am glad to get this out finally!!!! My uncle Nick has passed on but he has a son and a beautiful daughter who also has his looks. He was a handsome man. Thank you so kindly for helping out with this secret which I feel should be straightened out because I feel in my heart my cousins should know there true family!!!! I will send you photos of My Uncle Nickey and his daughter on her wedding day.

      • Hi Trish-I don’t even know what to say-I never heard of anything like this,or the names you mentioned. My email is TBJNT3@aol.com if you want to contact me there.

      • Sue, I know how you feel. I heard this at 16 years old from my mom. I have been to Petersburg, Virginia as a child with my parents and brothers more times than I could ever count to visit my grandmother. I am 65 years old this year. I know Blandford Cemetery too well!!!! My Grandfather is buried on the Jewish side and my Uncle Louis Blank and my grandmother is there too!! My uncle Louis has a son named Louis Blank and he lives or did in Colonial Heights. My brothers and I were last there in 2002. I have a cousin named Danny E. Davis and he has lived in I think colonial heights and grew up on Coggin Street in the area. Danny’s mother was Margaret Davis and Later remarried to another man named Ron
        Myers. She lived on Coggin Street and a block or so down my mom’s cousin Margie Gwaltney lived there. Husband was JT Gwaltney. He was a wonderful man. The sons are Tim, Greg, and I think David Gwaltney! So as you read I have a lot of roots in Petersburg and colonial heights. I am looking for the photos of my uncle Nickey. I am sending you the obituary for Nickey and his photo is there. Please let me know if he looks familiar!!!! Thanks so MUCH for answering me. I will stay in touch if ok with you.

      • Sue, I forgot to tell you my Aunt Margaret Davis worked for years for Kings Barbecue. I saw her the last time for her ex-husbands funeral in 2002 and my brother and I had dinner there at Kings Barbecue with her and our cousin Danny her son. She passed away after 2002. I sent obituary of Nickey with his photograph to you.

  13. Janice,

    My great grandmother’s name is actually Lillian Mildred Eanes, born September 8, 1894. Her one brother is Jeffrey Coleman “Jake” Eanes, born August 26, 1885.

    Thanks and have a very wonderful day,


  14. My ancestor, Daniel.Eanes (4-12 in the Eanes of Chesterfield Co. Book) in Murfreesboro, TN after 1805. He had some children previously in VA & more in TN. His sons, Robert & Alexander later moved to Mississippi. Then eventually settled near Austin TX.

  15. Here’s a little more history:
    Marshall Tract is the last piece of the Eanes-Marshall ranch and is rich with history.
    The land was occupied by Indians: Apaches, Tonkawas, and, the Comanches
    Archeologists from the University of Texas have collected Indian artifacts found on the Marshall ranch and along the banks of Smith (Dry) Creek.
    Alexander Eanes (1806-1888) acquired the property for the ranch by 1857.
    Alexander later sold the ranch to his brother, Robert Eanes (1805-1895) after the Civil War. Robert sold the ranch to his son-in-law, Hudson Boatner Marshall (1862-1951) in 1883.
    A log cabin built on the ranch was the first Eanes school and the surrounding community assumed the Eanes name. The building has since been moved.

  16. The photocopy of the ships roster that showed Edward Eanes’ immigration states that he is from Scotland. I lost much research on a hard drive that crashed but will upload things as I rebuild the file.

  17. Someone maintained that Edward Eanes came from the island of Madeira. I know that this name is Portuguese and that the family is most numerous in the inland province of Castello Branco. I think that a certain segment of the family wanted to get out of Portugal, perhaps to escape the Inquisition. Just because an Edward Eanes embarked from Scotland does not mean that he was Scottish. My husband’s family from the Ukraine also embarked from Glasgow, but that was just a stop along the way.

    There is a sept of one clan (I cannot remember which one) surnamed Eanr. That made me wonder some years ago if the Eanes were Scottish. Maybe some of the Eanes who went to Scotland intermarried with that clan.

    My own great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Eanes, looks very Portuguese from his photograph. He is of small stature with dark hair. A second cousin of mine whose father was an Eanes from another line is tall, blond and blue eyed. He looks Scandinavian. I think there must have been an adoption somewhere in colonial times or the early republic. We cannot make any conclusion about this situation unless enough Eanes men will take a DNA test and enroll in the Eanes surname study. My great grandfather had only one son. I do not know if that man had a male line heir.

    I would like to post a picture of my great grandfather and of the Eanes Find a Grave which has a related line and some pictures. I will try to get my husband to help me with that this weekend.

  18. He embarked in England. His country of origin is listed as Scotland. DNA testing of my mother and myself shows zero traces of Latino heritage.

  19. Derek, i would love to share some infomtion and pictures! I am a descendent of Joel Eanes as well. My grandfather was Fred Alson Eanes.

    Thank you!

    • My husband is also a descendant of Joel Eanes. His Grandfather is AV Eanes (Fred Alson Eanes’ brother). His name is John Edward Eanes Jr. I find the Eanes family history to be very interesting and I love finding new details to share with our kids.

  20. I also found where Edward (Eduardo Eanes) came over from England. It has him listed with both first names on ancestry.

  21. Did Edward Eanes come from Portugal or Scotland? What is the source of the embarkation from Scotland? My husband’s paternal grandmother’s family embarked from Glasgow circa 1890, but they came to Glasgow from what was then eastern Austria, and now Poland or the Ukraine.

    I have done the Family Tree DNA test and it shows that I have North African and southern Spain distant ancestral origins. My full sibling brother shows southern Portugal. If Edward Eanes was indeed Sephardic Jewish, then he might not show up as Portuguese.

    I did the DNA test on the wife of my second cousin once removed because her great grandfather was also an Eanes. Her Eanes family is tall, blond and blue eyed. She did not match my brother or me as even a distant cousin. Therefore, I have concluded that somewhere on her Eanes line is a man who was adopted. I also found on Find a Grave some men who took their mother’s maiden name, Eanes, for their own surname because their biological father had deserted them and they were supported by the Eahes grandfather. My Eanes ancestors were probably not tall, but had dark hair and what I would call Mediterranean features. I an going to attach a photograph of my great grandfather Thomas Jefferson Eanes 1858-1920 of Pittsylvania County VA.. I am also going to send links of the Find a Graves for the Brunswick County Eanes family to which we are related. Many thanks to the people who created these Find a grave sites. You can decided for yourselves whether the Eanes men look Jewish, Portuguese or just plain Mediterranean.






  22. My husband and I have tried to post the picture of my great grandparents and have not been able to do so. Can anyone tell me how to do it? We cannot even figure out how to log in. Sorry that I am not computer savvy.

  23. My brother and I did the Family Tree Family Finder DNA test with haplotypes. We match only 9 people with the surname “Eanes” or some similar name in their family tree. There is an Eanes DNA project, but not enough people have taken the test and registered in the project to make any family groupings. Only males can take the YDNA test. It is invaluable in tracing male descendants and showing that adoptions have taken place. I was able to help one woman determine that her grandfather was an Eanes and not her grandmother’s husband, That matched the information that was given to her by older relatives. If we ever really want to get to the bottom of the various origins of the Eanes family members, more men with the surname Eanes need to take the test and register for the project. I have tested three male relatives and registered them in the appropriate projects. Since Eanes was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name, I have no close male relatives to test.

  24. Janice,

    Thomas Jefferson Eanes is a descendent of mine as well…my grandfather was Fred Alson Eanes. Jim Eanes is also of that line, he was a famous singer;-) thank you for sharing so much info….I can’t wait to look at it!

  25. My grandfather was Mathew Richard Miller (a twin) b- 8/18/1879 in Chesterfield County, Virginia (which appears to be an area the Eanes family lived during that timeframe). Mathew married Mattie Eanes on 4/14/1909, and they had 12 children; one of which was my father. My father’s family were Scottish Highlanders. The first family member in American was James Miller (born about 1609 in Scotland) who came to York County, Virginia in 1637 with his wife Mary. I believe my father’s family tended to marry other Scots; but some wives may have been English, Scandinavian, German, and French. My family tree is at: https://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Miller-Family-Tree-44426 if you wish to take a look. My email is bikeridejim@gmail.com.

    Does anybody know how Mattie (Eanes) Miller maybe related to the first documented Eanes in Virginia?
    James (Jim) Miller

  26. Derek.. I have a Gonçalo Enes(Eanes) married to Maria Fernandes in 1618, Ponta do Sol, Madeira Island in my family tree.. Do you a Gonçalo Eanes in ur family tree?

  27. I’ve also been looking into my family heritage. Unfortunately I don’t really have much to go on due to not really knowing where or who to begin with as the older generation kept everything a secret from what I’ve been told. My grandfather was Donald Ray Eanes (1944-2017), his father was Charles Fred Eanes (1924-2000), and his father Lemuel Dano Eanes (1894-1973). I know of there being Jones, Womack, Craighead, and Anderson being names of women married in if that helps anyone out with connecting your tree with mine. I believe Lemuel Dano Eanes’s father was Joel Scott Eanes. I would appreciate any help at all. Most of my family originate from these two Virginia counties: Floyd county on Eanes mountain, Montgomery county, and along with West Virginia.

      • Eanes, on my side of the family does not come from England, rather Portugal..(Madeira Island). Further More, the Eanes (jewish last name) might have left Portugal due to the Jewish inquisition 1550 + to England , Belgium, and other, where they were protected from persecution

        Joseph Dasilva Eiras

  28. My father’s name was James Lee (Edward) Eanes & his father was Thomas Eanes of Roanoke, Va. My fathers family moved to Maryland when my Dad was a teenager. I do know that we’re related to Arthur Eanes.

  29. My father was John B. Eanes, from Pulaski, Va. His fathers name was Judson Eanes. I was born in Martinsville, Va. where I still live.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s