Gunhouse Surname Home Page
This page is dedicated to those who bear the unusual surname "Gunhouse," or who are descended from someone with that name. I have created this page because I keep getting e-mail from other people named Gunhouse, all curious to know more about their name and family tree. I have a preliminary database of names and family relationships, some of which I will eventually make public on this site. In the meantime, if you want me to check something in my records, just send me a message and I will get back to you. I can tell you now that there seem to be a least two different branches of the Gunhouse family in North America. One descends from John Gunhouse of Montreal, who emigrated from England to Canada in 1871. The other probably descends from Joseph Gunhouse of New York, who emigrated from England to the United States sometime before 1850. If you live in North America and your name is Gunhouse, chances are you descend from one of these men.
Origin of the Name
The name "Gunhouse" has nothing to do with guns or houses. "Gunhouse" is just a variant spelling of a name whose phonetic core is "Gun + (vowel) + s." The most common alternate spelling of the same name, since the 19th century, has been "Gunness." Documents from earlier periods employ a wide range of variant spellings (Gunnesse, Gunniss, Gunas, Gunnas, Gunnass, Gunace, Gunnays, and Gunneys, among others). The earliest records of the name date to the 13th century. An Assize Roll of that date, from Lincolnshire, records a person named Herveus de Gunnesse. [See P.H. Reaney, A Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed., corrections and additions by R.M. Wilson (London: Routledge, 1991).]
The earliest record I have seen of the surname "Gunhouse" is a reference to the marriage of Walter Rudston, of Hayton, Yorkshire, who is said to have married Dorothy, daughter and heir of Thomas Gunhouse, in the early sixteenth century. [See John Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland (reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publication Company, 1977), vol IV, p. 363.] According to Peter Freeman, a scholar studying the Rudston family, there is some reason to doubt the accuracy of this information. It is clear, however, that the Rudstons had a long association with the family to which Thomas Gunhouse belonged, though records of that family normally spell the name Gunneys or Gunnays. Mr. Freeman has generously supplied a transcription of some of these documents, and allowed their posting on this web site (see the Gunnays family of Hayton).
The name Gunhouse occurs frequently in parish registers for the county of Lincolnshire, especially (in fact, almost exclusively) in the Trent valley, near the border with Yorkshire. I have transcribed these records, and posted them on a separate page (Gunhouses in Lincolnshire Parish Registers). I have yet to check the Yorkshire Parish Registers (but see the Gunnays family of Hayton).
It is probably no coincidence that the region in which the name Gunhouse occurs most frequently over the centuries is also the location of a town by the same name. The village of Gunhouse (or Gunness) is located in North Lincolnshire, just across the Trent River from Althorpe [see About the Village of Gunness/Gunhouse].
If you have any information on the name Gunhouse, or wish to submit information or news about yourself or your family, please send a note to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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