Curiously, this Anglo-Norman name of the 11th Century A.D. was once one of the leading families of County Kildare and County Meath, although by the 17th Century the name was rare and has remained so. The origin of the name is either a metonymic diminutive from "Maes", meaning "the warrior", or from "messer", a word describing one who manufactured knives and other cutting weapons. It would seem that in 1690 the family espoused the Jacobite cause and in consequence lost their land, although this may be of questionable authenticity as shortly afterwards the name was first recorded in London. In 1638, it was recorded at St. Michan's Church, Dublin, that one Jane Missart married John Tompson, on October 5th of that year, and this may be the first recordings, although in a corrupted spelling. Other recordings include: Laurance Misset, who was a witness at the same church of St. Michan, on October 6th 1687, whilst on June 14th 1733, John Missett married Judith Hunt at St. Nicholas Without, Dublin. In London, on April 18th 1725, Jonathan Messit (also recorded as Messett) was a witness at St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney, whilst on January 25th 1865, Luke Messitt was a witness at the Kingstown District, Dublin. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Misset, which was dated July 23rd 1687, a witness at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Dublin, during the reign of King James 11 of England, known as "The Last Catholic King", 1685 - 1688. 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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