This interesting surname of English origin is a regional name from the county of Cornwall, so called from the old English pre 7th Century tribal name Cornwealas. This is from Kernow, the native name that the Cornish used to denote themselves (of uncertain etymology, perhaps connected with a Celtic element meaning "horn" or "headland") compounded with the old English "Wealas" "strangers", or "Foreigners", the term used by the Anglo-Saxons for British-speaking people. The surname dates back to the mid 16th Century, (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Cornu, Cornow, Cornew, etc.. One William Curnow married Sarah Dark on January 23rd 1792 at St. Luke, Old Street, Finsbury, London. Jane Curnow married Thomas Ellis on December 26th 1799, in London and Henry, son of William and Elizabeth Curnow, was christened on September 11th 1814 at St. Mary, Lambeth, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Michaell Cornewe, christened, which was dated 1558, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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