This is one of the rarest and most interesting of late medieval names. It derives from the Italian and Spanish 'infante', a title born in medieval times for the eldest sons (and daughters) of a nobleman before they inherited the title. The word was also, used by the French to mean 'a boy' or possibly a 'foot soldier', and it is probable that the 'English' surnames derive from these latter explanations, however as the district known as 'The Elephant and Castle' derives from the 'infanta of Portugal' who married Charles II in 1661, anything is possilbe! The name development includes Rachel Fanty christened at St. Leonards, Shoreditch in 1770, and Elizabeth Fentie who married George Wilson at St. Dunstans in the east, London in 1862. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James Fanty, which was dated 1678, witness at St. Mary Whitechapel, London, during the reign of King Charles II, 'The Merry Monarch', 1660 - 1685. 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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