This most interesting and unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, though ultimately deriving from an Old French word. It may be either a metonymic occupational name for a trapper, or a nickname for a particularly clever person, or someone endowed with a particular skill, derived from the Middle English "gin, ginne", from the Old French "engin", skill, ingenuity, and later meaning a snare or trap. In some cases, the surname may be a variant of "Finn", itself the Anglicized form of the Gaelic byname "Fionn", white, or from the Old Norse "Finnr", meaning Finn. The surname, which is also found in the modern idiom as Gynn, first appears in records in the late 12th Century (see below). One Roger Gin appears in the Feet of Fines of Staffordshire in 1221, while Walter Gynn is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275. On April 22nd 1557, George, son of George Gynne, was christened at Holy Trinity the Less, London, and Elizabeth Ginn was christened on July 11th 1691 at St. Anne's, Soho, London. A Coat of Arms was granted to a Gynn family in Hertfordshire, which depicts a gold griffin segreant, on an ermine indented chief, with three pellets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Gin, which was dated 1191, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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