This is a Polish heraldic surname, although such records as now exist are for Prussia. It is in fact surprising that any records exist at all since this area (the Polish-German corridor) has probably been fought over more than anywhere else in Europe. The surname "Gniewosz" as befits an heraldic name, is both patronymic "son of" (wosz or wicz) and habitational from the town of Gnesen or from residence at a rocky area, (old German-old Norse "Gneista"). The precise dates of the Coats of Arms are not known except that they are pre 1680. The first depicts a silver lance or caltrap on a red field, whilst the second is a woman in blue mounted on black, bear against a gold field. Coats of Arms depicts events in the bearers personal history but the significance of the second Arms is not readily understood. The surname recordings include Louise Gniewosch who married Michael Lenski and Sonburg, East Prussia on February 13th 1871. The name is not apparently, recorded in Britain before 1914. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Franz Gniewosz, which was dated November 30th 1866, marriage Johanna Storck at Koenigsberg, East Prussia, during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm 1st of Prussia, 1861 - 1888. 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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