Recorded in many spellings and having almost the same number of nationalistic origins, this is an ancient pagan personal name of pre 5th century origins. However spelt and pretty well where ever it is found it derives from the Germanic word "magin" meaning strength. As a surname it is recorded in spellings such Main, Maine, (French), Mayne, Main, Maine, Mein, Meyne, Menne (English and Scottish), Mein, Meine, Meining, Meininger, Meineken, Meineking (Austrian, German, Swiss) and others. In Scotland Mein is the local Gaelic form of Menzies, itself originally de Meyners, from the French province of Maine. It may also in some cases have been a descriptive nickname from the word "main" meaning a hand, and hence a person "with the hands," implying skills. From surviving recordings the surname is first recorded in the 13th century in the British Isles and Germany. Examples being Adam de Meine in the Pipe Rolls of Somerset in 1205, and in Germany Johannes Meynekons of Hannover, in 1287, Henricus Meyneking, also of Hannover in 1311, and Konrad Meine of Strittmatt in 1418. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Main. This was dated 1204, in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King John of England and 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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