Recorded as Probyn, Probin, Probbin, Probbing, and possibly others, this is a famous Welsh surname. It derives from the personal name Robert, introduced into England and then Scotland from about the year 1000. From this developed the diminutive personal name and later surname Robin or Robins, and in Wales this was often preceeded by the patronymic 'Ap,' This prefix is exactly the same as the Gaelic 'Mac' and means 'son of'. Welsh surnames became hereditary from the 16th century onwards, some four hundred years after the rest of the British Isles, and even then the early recordings of these Welsh surnames are usually found in English registers. The surnames with the Ap often became 'fused' with the main body of the name, and today it has almost entirely disappeared. Attempts have been made recently with some success by Welsh nationalists to try to re-introduce this Celtic ellement. Early examples of trhe surname recordings taken from surviving registers include William Probin of Oldcastle, Malpas, in the county of Cheshire, in 1576, and Hugh Probyn of Newton, also Cheshire, in 1578. Other examples include Hellenor Probine at St Peters church, Pauls Wharf, city of London, on September 14th 1619, and John Probbins at the church of St Katherins by the Tower (of London), on November 8th 1644. 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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