This is an ancient surname, which is generally believed to be Gaelic and Scottish, but may in fact be pre 7th century Norse-Viking and Olde English as well. Whatever its origin and it would seem that the same word 'nes' meaning a headland, was used throughout the British Isles and Scandanavia. As such it is either residential for somebody who lived on a headland, or locational from one of the many places called Ness in both England and Scotland. One English place which is certainly believed to be one of the 'homes' of the surname, is Ness in the county of Cheshire. This village is near the town of Neston, which means 'The farm on the headland'. However the real 'weight' definately lies in Scotland with Ness being a popular personal name in the years before the general creation of surnames from the 12th century. As an example we have Ness filius Willelmi, recorded as being the sheriff of Perth in the year 1178. The first recording as a surname anywhere may be that of Henry de Nes, who witnessed a property gift to the monastery of Paisley in the year 1180, and Adam de Ness, who may have been his brother, a charter witness in 1212.
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