This interesting and long-established surname has three distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Genn may derive from the medieval male given name "Jen, Jan", from "Jehan, Johan", variant forms of John, ultimately from the Hebrew "Jochanaan" meaning "Jehovah has favoured (me with a son)". One Alan filius (son of) Jene was recorded in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire, and an Alice Genne appears in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. The second possibility is that enn derives from "Jenn" or "Genn", pet forms of the Cornish medieval female given name Jennifer, itself coming from the Welsh "Gwenhwyfar", a compound of the elements "gwen", fair, white; "(g)wyf", smooth, yielding; and "fawr", great. Guinevere was the name of King Arthur's queen, and until the 19th Century the given name Jennifer was characteristically Cornish. One Thomas Gennes was noted in the 1297 "Ministers' Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall". Finally, Genn may be locational in origin, from Genoa in Italy. One Henry de Gene, an early namebearer from this source, was entered in the 1255 Hundred Rolls of Staffordshire. On February 14th 1591, Elizabeth, daughter of John Genn, was christened at St. James', Clerkenwell, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Genn family is a gold shield with three azure piles meeting in point, the Crest being a Cornish chough rising between two spear heads in pale proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Gene, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "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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