Leonard Denny & Samuel Joseph Denny, Jr.
Denny (Veronneau) Family

Clayton, New York, Quebec and Bournezeau, France

The Denny family has a long history in Clayton, New York, and an equally long history in Quebec (various towns around Montreal), where they settled in what was then New France, almost 200 years prior to Canadian independence. Bournezeau, in the Vendee region of France was the original home of the family before their 1659 arrival in North America.

You won't find the surname "Denny" on any documents or church records prior to 1850, as it was an American creation, their way of assimilating into the culture of their new home. Denny was derived from what is known as a "dit" (pronounced dee) name, that is an extension of (or alias attached to) the original surname. In our case, the name is Veronneau dit Denis. Sometimes spelled with one "n" as in the 1801 church index below, although the double n seems to be the standard.

These "dit" names are most commonly used in France (and New France), derived from first names or locations, and are typically meant to distinguish a certain branch of a family. When Pierre Veronneau dit Denis brought his family to Clayton, he condensed his name down to a very American-sounding Peter Denny. It's interesting to note that in most of the church records from St. Mary's in Clayton, Denny was spelled in the french style Denis as the priest encouraged the residents to hold on to their French roots. I can still hear my grandmother, Geneva, say "I'm a Frenchman, baby!" with a little laugh at the end, in a way that only she could.

Today, a mention of the name Denny around Clayton often brings back memories of my great grandfather, Sam Denny, who rose to local fame as a river guide, artist and carver of wooden duck decoys that remain a desired collectable to this day. In fact, Sam has a full room in the Thousand Islands Museum dedicated to his work.

Denny/Veronneau Family Generations
(research is ongoing)
BornFamily MemberParents
1914Geneva Denny
7 Sep 1914 - 23 Oct 2000
Clayton, New York
Samuel J. Denny, Jr.
Salina Amo
1873Samuel Joseph Denny, Jr.
25 Sep 1873 - 23 May 1953
Clayton, New York
Samuel Denny
Celina Belan
1847Samuel Denny
(Samuel Veronneau)

3 May 1847 - 15 Sep 1915
Coteau-du-Lac, Canada & Clayton, New York
Peter Denny
Elizabeth Belleville
1810Peter Denny
(Pierre Veronneau dit Denis)

29 Jun 1810 - Sep 1887
Les Cedres & Coteau-du-Lac, Canada & Clayton, New York
Joseph Veronneau dit Denis
Francoise Levac
1765Joseph Veronneau dit Denis
31 Jul 1765 - ?
Terrebonne & Les Cedres, Canada
Francois Veronneau dit Denis
Maria Garault
1738Francois Veronneau
27 Jul 1738 - 14 Jun 1801
Les Cedres, Canada
Francois Denis Veronneau
Catherine Robin
1707Francois Denis Veronneau
27 Jun 1707 - Around 1763
Boucherville, Canada
Denis Veronneau
Catherine Guertin
1643Denis Veronneau
a. 1643 - 30 Oct 1730
Bournezeau, France & Boucherville, Canada
Louis Veronneau
Perrine Bary
1610Louis Veronneau
a. 1610 - ?
Bournezeau, France
unknown
Denny Photo Gallery

Materials Needed -- You Can Help!

My goal is to make every story in this project as complete as possible with photos, remembrances, documents, keepsakes, etc. that will help preserve memories for future generations. Anything can help and would be greatly appreciated, no matter how small or trivial you may think it is. Here are some specific items needed:

  • Anything related to the Denny family in Clayton or the Veronneau dit Denis family in Quebec or France

You can contact me at joe@hatfulofrain.com