This name, with variant spellings Cheyney, Cha(i)ney, Chene, Chasney, and Chst(e)ney, derives from the Old French "chesnai", (Medieval Latin "casnetum"), meaning an oak - grove, and was originally given either as a topographic name to someone who lived by a cluster of oak trees, or as a locational name to one resident in a place named with the above element. This surname was introduced into England by the Normans, and is first recorded in the latter part of the 11th Century (see below), the name bearer being an under-tenant from Le Quesnay (Seine-Inferieure).One Hugh de Chaisnei appears in the Eynsham Cartulary, Oxfordshire, dated 1140, and William de Chesne, witness to a charter by William the Lion, was the first recorded Scottish namebearer. In 1235, William de Cheny, witness, was recorded in the Fine Court Rolls of Suffolk, and in 1273, one Henry de Cheney appeared in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire. The christening of Thomas, son of Thomas Chaney, was recorded at St. Olave's, Southwark, London, on January 26th 1644. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Radulfus de Caisned, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book, Sussex, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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