This unusual surname looks Italian, although the spelling in that country is 'Benza', but may well be British. It is almost certain to derive from the popular 12th century St Benedict, whose popularity swept through Europe in the Middle Ages. It is believed that there are at least two hundred European surnames, of which some examples are given below, which derive from this one man. However there is also a possibility that 'Benzi(e)' may be English locational and derive from a place called 'Bencey'- a lost medieval village. This is quite possible, it is known that at least five thousand surnames derive from lost British villages. The link with 'Benedict' can be seen in the following examples, the usual surname spelling in the United Kingdom being Benn or Bennet, Benet, Beneix, Bene (France), Benito, Beneyto (Spain), Benet (Portugal), Bendig (Czech), Benza (Italy), Benz, Bentz (Germany) and many more. Examples of early surname recordings in England include Mary, the daughter of James and Sarah Benzie, christened at the famous church of St Mary Le Bone, London, on August 12th 1798, and Alexander Benzie, who married at St Lukes church, Chelsea, on September 23rd 1866. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Bensey, which was dated August 30th 1722, who married at St Benets Church, London, during the reign of King George 1, known as 'Hanover George', 1715 - 1727. 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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