This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor or unrecorded place, perhaps a "lost" village. There are an estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from Britain since the 12th Century; the prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 15th Century, and natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. The original place is believed to have been in Surrey, because of the large number of early recordings found there, and the derivation is the Olde English pre 7th Century "cran", crane, and "eg", island, or piece of firm land in a fen; hence, "island where crane frequented". In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Crowney, Cronie, Crony, Chroney and Croney. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of William Crony on January 16th 1551, at St. Mary's, Guildford, Surrey; the marriage of Elizabeth Crowney and Richard Dyxson on October 6th 1560, at St. Oswald's, Durham; and the christening of Arnold, son of William and Agnes Croney, at St. Mary's, Guildford, Surrey, on January 4th 1589. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Georg Crony, which was dated May 16th 1540, witness at the christening of his daughter, Julian, at St. Mary's, Guildford, Surrey, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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