Connecting with the Venn Diagram

Last updated: 3 April 2017

There are many famous Venn’s:

  • Henry Venn (1796-1873) – clergyman and member of the Clapham Sect which campaigned to end slavery
  • John Venn (1834-1923) – logician and philosopher – he’s the Venn diagram one
  • William Webb Venn (1838-1896) – the first member of my family to get divorced

The Venn family is well documented in “Annals of a clerical family, being some account of the family and descendants of William Venn, vicar of Otterton, Devon, 1600-1621” (1904) which the Venn diagram Venn put together.

On page 346 (page 276 of the pdf that I have) there is a family tree ‘Venns in London’.  My William is on this tree.


There is no information on how this tree links into the wider Venn family detailed in the book.  Help!!!

So what has happened since I wrote this in 2011?  More research obviously!

But still no link.

However I have confirmed the tree back to Thomas Venn.  So here is a little on the family and then I’ll explain my great Venn theory (not to be confused with Venn diagrams 😉 )

My gg-grandfather William Webb Venn (jnr) was the last in a long line of scriveners aka notaries public.  The records of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners show the Thomas Venn becoming a Freeman of its Company in 1781 by redemption – he paid to get in!

He was followed by his son John Venn who was apprenticed in 1793 to John Mitchell, a member of the Company’s Court of Assistants (ie very very senior!).  Over time John himself became a member of the Court of Assistants.  He also formed the company John Venn and Sons which is still going today, albeit, not in family hands.  Their website has examples of the Venns’ work.  John’s sons John Sise Venn and William Webb Venn (Snr) were the sons who joined him.  John Sise Venn also became a member of the Court of Assistants.

So onto my latest theory!

Thomas Venn (at the top of the tree above) named two sons Thomas Wilberfoss implying this name was important.  So I searched for a Venn/Wilberfoss marriage – and found one – in Yorkshire.  They had a son Thomas in 1747….  Just like in the tree.  Further trace of him (ie marriage or burial) is not in Yorkshire.

However, as is always the case, I’ve yet to find any documents that my London Thomas with the Yorkshire Thomas.  So still looking.

If true, the funny thing would be that Thomas Venn is more likely to be related to William Wilberforce (possibly the most famous member of the Clapham Sect) than the Venns of the Clapham Sect, who trace their origins to Devon.


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