This very interesting Scottish surname, but widely recorded in England, is probably Norman-Breton in origin. Found in over forty spellings, some very rare, ranging from Cumming to Comyn to Common, it was introduced initially into England, by the followers of William the Conqueror after the battle of Hastings in 1066. The derivation is from either a pre 7th century personal name, originally 'Cumine' or 'Comyn', a common element in such surnames as 'Campbell' and 'Cameron', or from the French town of Comines. In Scotland, the family founded by William Comyn grew to be one of the most powerful in the country. They held the Earldoms of both Angus and Atholl, although they were not only to lose them, but by the 14th century it was recorded that 'this great house of four earls and thirty two knights was so utterly overthrown, that there is no memorial in the country save the orisons (?) of the monks of Deer'. Be that as it may the surname remained popular, and recording examples include Simon Comyn of Coldingham, in 1483, Barabara Keming, christened at St Margarets, Westminster, in 1579, and Will Comens, a witness at St Dunstans, Stepney, in 1593. Other recordings include Johes Kemmin, christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on May 2nd 1641, Melchior Coomans at St Mary-le-Bone in June 24th 1789, and Mary Ann Common also at St Mary-le-Bone on April 6th 1823. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willelmus Comyn, which was dated 1133, the Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, 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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