Recorded as Misk, Musk, Muske, and diminutives such as Misken, Miskin, Myskin and others, this is an English surname. It is however of Old French origins, and was introduced into England after the famous Norman Conquest of 1066. The derivation is from word mesch meaning man, and was originally a nickname to distinguish a younger person usually a son, from an older bearer of the name. The Old English pre 7th century word geong, in Middle English yunge or yonge, was used in a similar way for the younger of two bearers of the same name. Not surprisingly as shown below the surname is early medieval, making it one of the first to be recorded. Later examples taken from surviving registers and charters include the marriage of John Miskin and Ann Maister at Westerham in Kent, in 1561, and Margery Muske who married Henry Wilkinson at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, in 1606. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Meschin. This was dated 1161, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Warwickshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, known as "The Church Builder", 1154 - 1189. 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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