This rare and interesting name is of Medieval English origin and is a variant spelling of the locational name Corney, from places so called in Hertfordshire, Cumbria and a "lost" place in Lancashire. Corney is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Cornei" and in the Ancient Charters of 1198 as "Corneia", and derives from either the Old English pre 7th Century "corn", and "eg" thus Corn island, or "Corna" meaning crane, thus crane's island. The phenomenon of the "lost" village was generally the result of enforced land clearance during the 12th and 13th Centuries to make way for sheep pasture, as well as the more natural causes such as plague (1348) war etc.. Amongst the sample recordings in Hertfordshire are the christening of Henrie Corney on December 1st 1594 at Gilstone, and the marriage between Joan Cornew and Thomas Hagish on April 18th 1626 at Cheshunt. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Cornay, which was dated 1332, Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111, "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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