This interesting surname, of Old French origin, has two possible sources, being either a nickname for a favourite person from the Old French "mignon", pleasing, attractive, or an aphaeretic form of such given names as Jaminet and Thominet, themselves hypocorisms for Benjamin and Thomas. Both Benjamin and Thomas are ultimately of biblical origin, deriving respectively from the Hebrew "Binyamin", "Son of the South", and from an Aramaic byname meaning "twin". Aphaeretic forms of biblical names, showing the omission of a syllable at the beginning of the name, are common in most European languages. This surname was ultimately introduced into England as "Mignot" and "Minnot" in the wake of the Norman Invasion (1066). Early examples include: Robert Mignot or Minot (Oxfordshire, 1232), and Nicholas Mynyot (Yorkshire, 1379). In 1524, one William Minet was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk, and on January 21st 1694, Madelainne, daughter of French Huguenot refugees, Thomas Minet and Marie Goubart, was christened in the Walloon or Strangers Church, Canterbury, Kent. On September 2nd 1685, Benjamin Minett and Elizabeth Attwell were married at St. James', Clerkenwell, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Minett family is a silver shield with three persons in military costume seated in an open boat, rowed by two sailors all proper in base on a sea proper, in fesse three ermine spots, on a gold chief, a green mount, thereon an oak tree proper, fructed gold, the Crest being a silver wing erect, charged with three red bars. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter Minnot, which was dated 1191, in the "Pipe Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard 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.
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