This is a very interesting surname. It is of German origin, although amongst its more curious aspects is the fact that it was first recorded almost simultaneously in England and its 'own' country. It derives from 'Berwein' and describes a former resident of Vienna, the correct spelling of which is Wien. In this instance "Ber" translates literally as "of the inner" the first continental recording being that of Johannes Berewein from Neuenberg in the town charters of 1606. So how and why did the name get to England? It is well documented that from the time of King Henry V111, (1510 - 1547) and perhaps earlier, Dutch - German engineers were employed to drain the English flatlands. These areas were specifically Lancashire and the Fen Country from Lincolnshire to Essex. In this case the first recordings of the surname would seem to be in Lancashire, although the first spellings in the modern form are from London! These recordings include Ann, the daughter of Johes, see below, christened at Colne, Lancashire on March 20th 1614, whilst at the same place on July 13th 1628, John Birwayne, also the son of Johes, was christened. In London on September 9th 1632, Darcus Burwin, the daughter of Martyn Burwin was christened at All Hallows Church, whilst on June 11th 1837, Mary Berwin ( a variant form) married George Marshall at St Pancras Old Church. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johes Birwayne, which was dated November 16th 1613, married Isabella Crossley at Colne, Lancashire, during the reign of King James 1 of England & V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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