This interesting surname is ultimately Breton in origin, and derives from a personal name, "Cumine" or "Comyn", thought to derive from the Celtic element "can", meaning "bent, crooked", and a common element in Gaelic names such as "Campbell" and "Cameron". The Breton Followers of the Normans introduced the name into England, Scotland and Ireland after the Conquest of 1066, and it survived as a personal name in Norfolk, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire into the 12th and 13th Centuries. However, the name flourished most strongly in Scotland, where the family founded by William Comyn (see below), grew to be one of the most powerful in the country, holding at one time the Earldoms of both Angus and Atholl, although they were to lose them in later years. Cummings is the patronymic form, meaning "son of Cumyn". Early recordings from London Church Registers include, Christopher Cummins, who had a daughter, Sarah, baptised at St. James, Clerkenwell, in 1642. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willelmus Comyn (Chancellor of Scotland), which was dated 1133, in "Records of Kelso Abbey", 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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