Denny last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name Denny is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named Denny.

Meaning of Denny

Anglicized form of the Irish surname Ó Duinnín, meaning "descendant of Duinnín," a diminutive of Donn, meaning "brown-haired."

Denny, like all of the last names we have data for, is identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a surname which has more than 100 occurrences in the United States in the Decennial Census survey. The most recent statistics we have for the Denny surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Denny in America

Denny is the 2062nd most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Denny surname appeared 17,503 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 6 people would have the surname Denny.

We can also compare 2010 data for Denny to data from the previous census in 2000. The table below contains all of the statistics for both years in a side-by-side comparison.

2010 2000 Change (%)
Rank 2062 1899 8.23%
Count 17,503 17,366 0.79%
Proportion per 100k 5.93 6.44 -8.25%

The history of the last name Denny

The surname Denny is of English origin, derived from the Middle English word "dene" meaning "valley" or "hollow." It is believed to have originated in the 12th century as a topographic name, referring to people who lived in a valley or near a dell.

The earliest recorded instance of the name Denny can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as "de la Dene." This suggests that the name may have initially referred to someone who lived near or owned a particular valley or dell.

Over time, the name evolved into various spellings, such as Denny, Denney, and Dennie. These variations likely emerged due to regional dialects and the inconsistencies in spelling during the medieval period.

One notable historical figure bearing the surname Denny was Sir Edward Denny (1547-1600), an English courtier and diplomat during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He served as her ambassador to France and was granted lands in County Kerry, Ireland.

Another prominent individual with the surname Denny was Sir Anthony Denny (c. 1501-1549), a close friend and confidant of King Henry VIII. He held influential positions at the court and was involved in various political and religious affairs during the English Reformation.

In the United States, one of the earliest recorded instances of the Denny surname can be found in the 17th century. Arthur Denny (1621-1686) was an English settler who arrived in Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s and later became a prominent landowner and public figure in the colony.

The name Denny is also linked to several place names, such as Denny Crookdake in Cumbria, England, and Denny Cistercian Nunnery in Cambridgeshire, England, both of which likely derived their names from the topographic features associated with the surname.

Another notable figure with the Denny surname was Harmar Denny (1794-1838), an American politician and lawyer who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania in the 1830s.

Overall, the surname Denny has a rich history rooted in the English language and topography, with references dating back to the 12th century and various notable individuals bearing the name throughout history.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Denny

We also have some data on the ancestry of people with the surname Denny.

The below race categories are the modified race categories used in the Census Bureau's population estimates program. All people were categorized into six mutually exclusive racial and Hispanic origin groups:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for Denny was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 82.91% 14,512
Non-Hispanic Black Only 7.10% 1,243
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.86% 151
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 4.47% 782
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 2.30% 403
Hispanic Origin 2.37% 415

Note: Any fields showing (S) means the data was suppressed for privacy so that the data does not in any way identify any specific individuals.

Since we have data from the previous census in 2000, we can also compare the values to see how the popularity of Denny has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 82.91% 84.83% -2.29%
Black 7.10% 6.78% 4.61%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.86% 0.56% 42.25%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 4.47% 4.29% 4.11%
Two or More Races 2.30% 1.75% 27.16%
Hispanic 2.37% 1.79% 27.88%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name Denny was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Denny, please contact us.

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"Denny last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 22, 2024.

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