This is a rare but ancient English surname. There are at least three possible origins, all nicknames. Firstly it could be an ethnic nickname for a red haired person, and given by the Olde English or Welsh who were (are) darker haired and dark complexioned, to an invading Anglo-Saxon, or secondly it could be a name given to a hot tempered person, or thirdly it could describe a spice merchant. It is not clear from the early recordings as to which category applied except that the first recording of all, that of Roger Gingiure in the Assize Rolls of Gloucester in 1221, may well suggest a 'hot blooded' individual, but on the other hand William Gyngeur recorded in the county rolls of Essex in 1262, was called upon to pay more tax, his name appearing in the famous tax registers called the 'Feet of Fines'. This suggests that he was a wealthy individual, probably a merchant. The first recording in the 'modern' spelling was that of Roger Ginger in the register of the monastery of St Thomas in Staffordshire in the year 1280. This was probably a reference to a 'red head', if only because it is unlikely that either of the other origins would apply.
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