This interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is a locational surname from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place believed to have been situated in Devonshire, due to the prevalence of church recordings of the surname in that county. The phenomena of the "lost" village is a result of natural disasters such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, or due to enforced land clearance during the 15th Century, to make way for sheep pasture. It is estimated that there are between seven and ten thousand villages that have disappeared from British maps. The derivation of this surname is from the Norman personal name "Guerin", meaning guard, and the Olde English pre 7th Century "eg", an island or land surrounded by fen; the Channel Island, Guernsey also has the same derivation. The name Guerin appears in Burke's "General Armory" in two instances, once relating to a family in Norton Fitz-Warren, Taunton, and secondly relating to a family in Guernsey. The christening was recorded in Devonshire of Robert Garnsey in Witleridge, on April 7th 1599. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anthony Garnesey, which was dated February 23rd 1595, marriage to Christian Tucker, at St. Mary Magdalene, Launceston, Cornwall, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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