This unusual surname is probably Italian, although the spelling in that country is apparently 'Bensi or Benza'(see below). What is certain is that the name is one of the several hundred variant spellings which derive from 'Benedictus' and specifically St. Benedict, whose popularity swept through Europe in the Middle Ages. The origination through 'Benedict' can be seen in the following examples, the usual surname spelling in the United Kingdom being Benn or Bennet, with Benet, Beneix, Bene from (France), Benito, Beneyto, Bencia (Spain), Benet (Portugal), Bendig (Czech), Bensi, Benza (Italy), Benz, Bentz (Germany), Bentschi in Switzerland, and many more. Examples of early surname recordings include Ursel Bentschi who married Jacon Andress at Amriswit, Thurgau, Switzerland on september 9th 1664, Pedro de Bencia who married Maria Josepha de Ruhio at St Juan Batista, Navarra, Spain on October 10th 1750, and Feliciata Bensi, christened at Genoa, Italy, on September 15th 1820. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Joanne Bentschi, which was dated January 1st 1656, married at Escholzmatt, Luzern, Switzerland, during the reign of Emperor Leopold 1, of the Holy Roman Empire, 1658 - 1705. 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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