This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is either topographical for one in residence by a grassy path, or locational from three places called Greenway in Gloucestershire, Glamorgan and Somerset. The derivation in both these instances is from the Old English pre 7th Century "grene", meaning green and "weg", a path. The intrusive "a" in Greenaway is a dialectal addition introduced for euphonic purposes or to make for easier pronunciation. The form Greenway is first recorded in the Wills Records of Chester (1545-1620). In the early recordings in London are the christenings of Samuel Greenaway on December 27th 1646 at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, and Thomas Greenaway on February 12th 1639 at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Greneweie, which was dated 1214, in the "Poll Tax Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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