This interesting surname recorded as Annas, Annes, Annice, Anning, Annis, and others, is of either Irish or Anglo-Scottish origin. If Irish it is either a form of the original Gaelic O h'Annaigh, meaning a male descendant of Annach, from Annaigh meaning "iniquity", or from the Hebrew "chane" meaning "he (God) has favoured me with a child". Secondly if English or Scots, it may derive from the female personal name Agnes, from the Greek "hagnos" meaning pure or sacred. Few surnames originate from the first bearer's mother because society has been patriarchal throughout history, resulting in the name of the male head of the household being handed down as a distinguishing name to successive generations. This is a rare exception. Early examples of recordings include Agam Annice of Worcestershire in 1273 in the Hundred Rolls of landowners, whilst John Annes appears in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Sussex in 1296. Two daughters of William and Margaret Anning were christened at St. Clement Danes, Westminster, London, Frances on October 23rd 1732, and Fanny Maria on April 7th 1735. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was Mary Anning (1799 - 1847), a discoverer of the skeleton of ichtyosaurus in a cliff near Lyme, and subsequently the first specimens of plesiosaursus and pterodactylus. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Annas de Preston in the year 1170, in the reign of King Henry 11nd of England (1154 - 1189). Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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