Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English medieval surname. It is locational and derives not from sailing but from the parish of Misson, near Bawtry, in the county of Nottinghamshire. The placename is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as "Misne", and as "Misene" in the 1228 Episcopal Registers. The derivation is from the Old Germanic word "musin", denoting a marshy place, and akin to the Olde English pre 7th Century word "mos", meaning a swamp. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Misson, Mizen, Mizon, Musson and Mizzen. Recordings of the surname from early surviving English church registers include: the marriage of Edward Mizen and Isabella Morrison on December 12th 1768, at St. Nicholas', Liverpool, Lancashire; and the christening of Sarah Mizzen at St. Peter's church, Nottingham, on November 24th 1786. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Musson. This was dated 1272, in the "Book of Fees" for the county of Nottinghamshire, during the reign of King Henry 111 of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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