This unusual surname spelling would appear to indicate an Italian form, although this is not confirmed by the registers. However, what is reasonably certain is that the name derives from the former State of Savoy (Savoie), which straddled the boundaries of Southern France and Northern Italy. If this is so the name derives from "Dianous" (also spelt as Dianoux), which is a development of "Diant", a local Savoie dialectal form of the aristocratic "de Jean" (son of John). However, it is also possible although not proven that the name may have developed from the Italian "diacono" meaning a deacon or decani, a dean. Both would have been nicknames as the church was celibate! We believe that Diano is an Anglicized form of Dianous, the pronunciation being the same, but could be a form of Decana as an early London recording is that of Maria Decana, place of birth unknown, who married a John Willmott at St. James' Church, Duke's Place, on March 8th 1740. All early recordings are from the village, as shown below. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Claire Dianous, which was dated January 19th 1694, marriage to Anthoine Borne, at Le Pouzain, Ardeche, Savoie, during the reign of Duke Victor Amadeus 11 of Savoie, 1690 - 1713. 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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