This is a surname of Anglo-Scottish and French origins. Recorded as Bonnie, Bonny, Bonney and Bonnyman, it derives from from the French word "bon" meaning good, and was formerly recorded almost exclusively in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire origin. It was either a baptismal name of endearment or a nickname for a handsome person, prior to becoming a surname in medieval times. In certain areas, notably Scotland, the personal name as Bonnie is still in use, as is the rare surname Bonnyman. The name development in England since 1273 (see below) has included: Johannas Bunnay of Yorkshire in 1379; Agnes Bonney also of Yorkshire in the same Poll Tax registers of 1379; whilst in 1567, Margaret Bonnyson married William Norris in London.An early recordings from London church registers was that of the christening of Joane, the daughter of Michaell Bonney, on May 22nd 1587, at St. Giles' Cripplegate. William Bonney, more popularly known as Billy the Kid, was the most famous outlaw in American history. He was killed by Sherriff Pat Garrett in 1882. A coat of arms granted to a family of the name has the blazon of a silver shield charged with five blue escallops in cross. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Bonye. This was dated 1273, in the Pipe Rolls of Oxford, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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