This unusual and interesting name with variant spellings, Bonsier, Bonser and Bonsor, is a medieval nickname which derives from the Old French complimentary greeting 'Bon Sire', meaning 'Good Sir' or 'Good Friend'. There are several examples of similar unusual surname origins, for example, 'Purdy' which is a derivation of 'Pour Dieu' meaning 'for God'. The reason why such names came about is presumably because the original holder made continuous use of them. The surname was first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below). One Robert Bonsir appears in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex, 1332. Today, the surname is mainly found in Nottinghamshire. Anna and Richardus Bonsey were christened on January 1st 1600 in Littleton, London. One Margareta Bonsey married Carolus Taylor on November 16th 1605, Littleton, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Bonsire, which was dated 1246, Records of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, during the reign of King Henry 111, 'The Frenchman', 1216-1272. 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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