This interesting name is of early medieval English origin and locational from a place so called in West Yorkshire. It is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Chineslai", and in the Post Mortem Inquisitions of 1245 as "Kyneslay". The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name "Cyne", with "leah", a wood or clearing in a wood. During the middle ages when people began to migrate from their villages to seek work elsewhere, they adopted the custom of using the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Amongst the samples recorded in Yorkshire, are; one Mary Kinsley who was christened on November 11th 1627 at Whitgift, and Phoebe Kinsley who married George Pearson on May 6th 1796 in Doncaster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Kineslea, which was dated "Placenames of Essex", 1191, during the reign of King Richard I, "the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017