This unusual surname, with the variants Commins, Comins, Commings and Cuming, derives from a Breton personal name, from the element "cam" meaning bent, crooked, plus the diminutive suffix "in". The personal name was relatively widespread in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire in the 12th and 13th Centuries as a result of Breton immigration. The Scottish and Irish families bearing the surname are apparently all descended ultimately from a companion of William the Conqueror who came from the area around Rouen, where Breton influence was strong. It is also suggested that it may be a locational name from Comines near Lille. The personal name appears as Godwinus filius Cumine (1173) in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, and the surname dates back to the early 12th Century (see below). Early recordings include Hugh Coumini (1157), France, and John Comin (1175 - 1179) in the "Documents illustrative of the Social and Economic History of the Danelaw", Lincolnshire. London Church Records list the marriage of James Commin to Mary Hutton on October 26th 1652 at St. Bartholomew the Less. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Comyn, which was dated 1133, a churchman and chancellor to King David 1st, during the reign of King David 1, of Scotland, 1124 - 1153. 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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