Recorded in several forms including Jancey, Jansey, Jancy, Jansie, Jencey, and even Ginsie and Gaunsey, this is an English surname. Its origins are obscure and unproven, but it is almost certainly one of the many patronymics which developed from the ancient Christian name John. This name, a development of the more usual continental Johann, is ultimately from the the ancient Hebrew "Yochan" meaning "God has blessed me with a son", and was introduced from the Holy Land by returning pilgrims and Crusaders in the 12th century a.d.. It rapidly became the most popular of all baptismal names in the period when surnames were rare, but thereafter became in its many forms, a surname in its own right. There are known to be over one thousand medieval surnames which owe their origin to John and its alternative nicknames forms of Jan, Jon and Jen. To these were added various suffix such as "-son", or in this case, usually "-ey" which may mean Little Jan or more likely son of Jan. It is unclear when the surname was first recorded, but certainly it appears in the surviving church registers for the diocese of London in Stuart times. These early recordings include examples such as Rycharde Jancey whose daughter Katherin was christened at St Brides church, Fleet Street, on August 1st 1628, Mary Ginsey, the daughter of Richard Ginsey, christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 28th 1645, and Petrus Hansie, the son of Richardi Jansie, christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on February 2nd 1656.
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