This is a rare variant spelling of the Old English surname "Fyan", Gaelicized in the 15th Century to Faughan and (much later) Foynes. The present nameholders are from the West of Ireland where the towns of Foynes and Fyanstown bear witness to their origins. What is less than obvious is the meaning of the surname, but it seems likely that it derives from the ancient personal name "Fin", a King's name in pre history and known for his appearance in the famous poem "Beowulf", (circa 1050 A.D.). This origin is also responsible for the popular Irish surnames Finn, Fynn and the rare Fenn. Recordings include Alice Foin, of Seagow, Armagh in 1776 and Elizabeth Fownes of Loughall, Armagh in 1711. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Patrick Foynes, which was dated March 23rd 1878, A witness at Ballinameen Church, Roscommon, Ireland, during the reign of Queen Victoria, "The Great White Queen", 1837 - 1901. 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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