Recorded in many spelling forms this apparently Scottish looking surname, is pure English. It is of medieval origins, and it is said that in its different forms, it is widespread in the county of Cheshire and the north west of England. It is in effect either an early baptismal name or a medieval nickname, being composed of the elements "dunn", meaning dark or swarthy, and "Babin or Bobin", pet names which developed from the earlier Robin. The surname now recorded as Dunrobbin, Dunbabin, Dunbobin, Dunbavin, Dunbavand, Dunbebin, Donbavand, and no doubt others, translates as "Robin (or Babin) of the dark appearance". Early examples of the surname recording include William Dunbabin who was christened at Frodsham in Cheshire on September 7th 1595, whilst William Dunbabin was also christened at Frodsham on March 7th 1619. Early examples of recordings in the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Ellenor Dunbabyne, who married Joseph Harcocke at St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, on August 7th 1623, and Mary, the daughter of Richard and Agnis Dunbavin, who was christened at St. Ann's Blackfriars. 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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