Recorded in several forms including Anselm and Anselmi in both Germany and Italy, and as Ansell and Hansell in England, this ancient and interesting name is of pre 7th century origins. It derives from Anselm, a personal name composed of the elements "ans", meaning god, and "helm", protection or helmet. The name was first recorded in germany in 1293 when Bertoldus Anslmi is shown as being a citizen of Hirsau, whilst in 1584, Kakob Anselmann is recorded in Herxheim, Pfalz. In Italy the surname is particularly associated with the Lombardy region, and an early recording in the church registers is that of Pietro Anselmi, whose daughter Lucrezia was christened at Luignano, Arrezzo, on November 7th 1693.The given name was introduced into England by St. Anselm (1033 - 1109), the archbishop of Canterbury, who was a Lombard by birth, and although it was never popular with the English, the personal name generated a variety of surnames, ranging from Ansell, Anshell and Ansill, to Hansel, Hansill and Hancell, and the diminutive form Anslyn. The surname development includes: Roger Aunsel of Staffordshire, England in 1271, William Ansel of Cambridgeshire in 1309; and William Hansell of Yorkshire in 1479. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Petrus Anselmus, which was dated 1192, in the "Pipe Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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