This unusual and interesting name is of medieval Germanic origin, and derives from a short form of any of the various Germanic personal names with the first element 'ragin', meaning 'counsel'. These would be names such as 'Raymond', 'ragin', counsel, with 'mund', protection, and 'Reynold', 'ragin' and 'wald', rule. 'Reinisch' or 'Renisch' are two of the diminutive variants of the Germanic name 'Rein', in English 'Raine', from this source, and have been anglicized as 'Reynish' and 'Renish'. Elizabeth Renish is recorded in London in 1619, and marriage of William Reynish to Nancy Law was recorded at St. James's, Westminster, in July 1775. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Renishe (marriage to Marye Lenton), which was dated 2nd September, 1619, St. Mary Magdalen, Old Fish Street, London, during the reign of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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