This interesting surname is derived from a byname applied to someone resembling a dean, a church official; or even used as an occupational name for a dean's servant. The word dean goes back to the Latin "decanus", originally "a leader of ten men". Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. As a surname Deans is characteristic of Scotland, and was common in the Hawickshire District, as "Deinis" and "Deins" in the 16th Century. The name had clearly already emerged as a surname by then (see below). One Jacob Deanes was the Baillie of Edinburgh in 1682 according to the "Scottish Retours", and James Deins was a Glasgow merchant in 1606. In an early entry in Church Registers Agnes, daughter of Thomas and Jeanne Deanes, is noted as being christened in Edinburgh, on September 18th 1617. The marriage was also recorded in Edinburgh of Margaret Deans and David Bennet, on January 26th 1655. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Deaness, "slater", which was dated 1588, in the "Burgesses and Guild Brethren Lists", Glasgow, Edinburgh, Scotland, during the reign of King James V1 of Scotland, 1567 - 1625. 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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