Recorded as Camish, Camoys, Camois, Kemmish, Kimmis, Kemish, Kimmish, Kemys, and possibly others, this is a surname of three potential origins. Firstly it can be Welsh and locational from Kemeys, in the former county of Monmouthshire. However it has been claimed that the original spelling of Kemeys was the Norman French Camois introduced at or after the famous Conquest of England in 1066. This is from the word "camois", meaning snub-nosed, and a nickname for the original Count of Camois. The second origin is also a Norman introduction, and occupational for a clothier from the word "kemise".This described a priest's surplice and a herald's robe. The first recording from this source is Bartholomew le Camisur of Berkshire in the year 1282. Thirdly it may be locational from the village of Campeaux in Calvados, Normandy. The first recording is from this source being Stephen de Cameis, in the Northamptonshire Pipe Rolls in the year 1200, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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