This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a now "lost" place, thought to have been in Yorkshire, due to the large number of recordings in this county. The placename is derived from the genitive case of the Olde English pre 7th Century byname "Gosa", from "gos", goose, originally given as either a nickname for a foolish person, or a metonymic occupational name for a breeder of geese, and the Olde English "eg", island, hence "Gosa's island". An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared in Britain since circa 1100, due to such natural disasters as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, or to the widespread practice of "clearing" large areas of land to make sheep pastures during the height of the wool-trade in the 14th and 15th centuries. The modern surname can also be found as Gosnay, Gozney, Gosneye and Gusney. Recorded in the Yorkshire Church Registers are the marriage of Edward Gosney and Ann Proctor, on November 6th 1608, at Darrington, and the christening of Abraham, son of Thomas Gosney, on May 20th 1680, at Rothwell. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of George Gosney, which was dated November 2nd 1572, marriage to Isabel Lee, at Darrington, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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