Recorded as Anscom, Anscombe, Hanscom, Hanscome, Hanscomb, Hanscombe, Handscombe and Handscomb, this is an English surname. It is locational from either Hanscombe End in the county of Bedfordshire, or possibly for a few nameholders from the village of Handcomb in the county of Sussex. The placename is derived from the pre medieval Anglo-Saxon given name Hans, and the Old English pre 7th Century "cumb", meaning a valley; "Hans" is an aphetic form of Johannes or John, from the Hebrew "Yochanan", meaning Jehovah has favoured me with a son, or possibly may Jehovah favour this child. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Amongst the early recordings are the christening of John, son of Thomas Hanscomb, on October 16th 1586 at Campton, and the marriage of John Hanscombe and Susan Lake on October 28th 1629 at Chalgrave, both Bedfordshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Anscombe. This was dated 1255, in the Chartularies of the abbey of Ramsey, Bedfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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