Originally recorded as January, Janaway, Jenery, Jennery, Jennardy, in England, Janvier (France) Janer and Jane in Spain, Januario in Portugal, Gennaro and Zannari (Italy) and many others, and recorded throughout Europe, this is a name of truly ancient origins. It has several possible origins and meanings. The first is that it was given as a baptismal name to somebody born in January, but probably more specifically probably January 1st, New Years Day. This was the most prominent festival of the pre Christian era, and a child born on that day would have been regraded as even more special than usual.A second possibility is that it is a derivative of the personal name Janus, itself a surname. Janus was the god of gateways and doors, and was regarded as having the power to look both ways at the sametime! Finally it may be a localised form of the city of Genoa, and certainly in England people from that famous port were known as Janaways. It is unclear as to when the name was first recorded but William de Janua was recorded in the Subsidy Tax rolls of the county of Kent, England, in the year 1273, whilst John January married Mary Woodhouse on December 16th 1697 at St Mary Woolnoth, in the city of London.
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