This surname of VENTRISS was derived from the Old French 'aventure' a nickname for a bold or venturesome person, originally rendered in Latin documents as ADVENTURA (meaning chance, happening). This form of the name appears in the 13th century. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention William Aventur, who was documented in 1279 in Yorkshire, and William le Ventre appears in County Sussex in the year 1327. Later instances of the name mention Thomas Ventris and Anne Lynge, who were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1586. George, son of Robert Ventresse was baptised at St. Michael Cornhill, London in the year 1653, and John Ventis married Elizabeth Gillett at St. Michael, Cornhill in 1680. A notable member of the name was Michael George Francis Ventris (1922-56) the English linguist (though by profession an architect) born in Wheathampstead. As a teenager he became interested in undeciphered Minoan scripts found at a palace site in Crete. His later analysis proved an early form of Greek. He wrote 'Documents in Mycenaean Greek' jointly with John Chadwick, which was published shortly after his death.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Oakington, County Cambridge. (Ventris)
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