This interesting surname of English origin is a dialectal variant of the locational name Earnley in Sussex, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "earn" meaning "eagle" plus "leah" "wood", hence "Eagles'wood". The surname dates back to the early 16th Century, (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Earny, Eronie, Arney, Arnely, etc.. One, Mary Earny married Richard Dixon at St. Dunstan, Stepney, on July 3rd 1605. Mary Ann, daughter of Thomas and Ann Earney, was christened in 1802, at St. Mary, Battersea, and Jacob, son of Thomas and Ann Earney, was christened on May 27th 1804, at St. Mary, Battersea. William, son of William and Elizabeth Earney, was christened at St. Luke, Old Charlton, London, on February 7th 1819. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Catherine Ernly, which was dated 1539, in the "West Wittering, Sussex", during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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