Recorded in many forms including Rainy, Rainey, Rany, Raynie, Reany, Reaney, Rennie, Renny, Rennison, and Renison, this is a surname of complicated and confusing origins. It can be English, Anglo-Irish, Irish, Anglo-Scottish or Scottish, and with overlapping spelling. In most cases it is, or rather was, a form of the original personal name "Reynold". This was of Germanic origin from the elements "ragin" meaning "counsel", and "wald", rule. Introduced into the British Isles by the Norse-Vikings of the 8th century, and later reinforced at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 by the French equivalent "Reinald", it rapidly gained popularity in the medieval period. In Ireland and sometimes Scotland, the derivation is from the Gaelic O'Raigne, but this itself is a development of the French Reinald, probably introduced into Ireland after the invasion of that county in 1170. Early examples of the surname recordings include: Thomas Renie in the Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire, England, in 1279, whilst in 1362, Symon Renny was recorded as being the bailie of Inverkeithing, Scotland. This is believed to be the first known recording in that country. Surname holders as Rany or Rainey held large estates in Angus in the 15th century, whilst the patronymic as Renison or Rennison is recorded in the Glasgow area from the 17th century. In England and specifically Yorkshire, the surname is well recorded with examples such as Margaret Ranie of Arksey, on August 8th 1565, and Andrew Reaney, who married Sarah Gill at Sheffield Cathedral on August 25th 1784. The first known recording of the family name is believed to be that of Henry Raney, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls" of Derbyshire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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