This unusual and interesting name is a matronymic, that is, a surname derived from the name of the first bearer's mother. Such surname formations are rare in Christian Europe. In this instance the surname is a derivative of the medieval female given name 'Jennifer', or 'Jenifer', from the Welsh 'Gwenhwyfar', which is a compound of the words 'gwen', meaning fair, or white, '(g)wyf', meaning smooth or yeilding, and 'fawr', large. King Arthur's queen bore the name as 'Guinevere', and until the 19th Century, the personal female name 'Jennifer' was found mostly in Cornwall. Variations of the surname in the modern idiom include 'Genever, Juniper, Junifer, and Genevrier'. One Samuel Genever was christened in London, (St. Giles, Cripplegate), in December 1655. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mabilia Jenener, which was dated 1296, The Sussex Subsidy Rolls, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. 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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