This interesting medieval surname has origins and recordings in various forms throughout Middle and Northern Europe. Strictly speaking it is probably of Ukrainian origin, but Poland, Germany and Czechoslovakia can all make claims. It is in fact a form of endearment, deriving from the Slav word "Pan", meaning "master" and used in the literal sense of "little master". This type of nickname surname was common throughout medieval Europe although as with many names emanating from the Slavonic regions, records tend to be either sparse, inaccurate or more often than not, non-existent. This is not through some educational defect, but is the result of war and strife which for centuries criss-crossed the area. The variant spelling forms include Panos, Panadch, Panath and Panek, although the most popular spelling is the German "Pank". The name recordings include such varied examples as Rosina Panek, who married Michael Nowak, at Poznau, on February 7th 1827, whilst Carl Panath was christened at Kamen, Westfalen, on April 13th 1862. Spiridion Pana (as spelt) was recorded at St. Pancras' Old Church, London, on May 10th 1860. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Waclow Panos, which was dated February 14th 1677, marriage to Anna Nowakova, at Cestrice, Strakonice, during the reign of King John 111, known as "The Last Independent King of Poland, 1674 - 1697. 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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