This interesting surname is of German and Dutch origin, and is derived from a nickname for a cunning or wily individual, from the German and Dutch "list", guile, ingenuity, stratagem, device, which is from the Old High German and Middle Low German "list". List is an example of that sizable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal or bird's appearance or disposition, habits of dress and occupation.The modern surname can be found as List, Lyst(e) and Listman(n). The marriage was recorded in Germany of Anna Maria List and Oseas Knapp in 1554 at Reutlingen, Schwarzwald-Kreis, Wuertt. Among the sample recordings in London are the marriages of John List and Marie Manninges on February 15th 1612 at St. Mary, Woolchurch Haw, and of Robert List and Sarah Grey on February 28th 1681 at St. James, Dukes Place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Lyste (marriage to Alice Smith), which was dated March 7th 1546, in London, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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