This intriguing and unusual name traces its roots to two Celtic Cultures, namely the Welsh and Breton. It is derived from the placename "Menheniot" in Cornwall whose origins may be found in the Old Breton "men" and Old Welsh "maen" both meaning stone. The second element, "heniot" is a development of the Old Welsh 9th Century personal name "Huriat". It is interesting to note that the first element "men", helps form the archaeological term "menhir" which is the name for ancient monumental stones found throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. The placename is first recorded as "Mahiniet" in the Episcopal Registers, 1260. One Mary Menhenitt was christened on August 17th 1735 at Blisland, Cornwall. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret Menhenet (christened), which was dated November 5th 1615, Bodmin, Cornwall, during the reign of King James I, of England and VI of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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