Recorded in several forms including Sarny, Sarney, and Sarnye, this is apparently an English locational surname. It probably originates from the villages of Cerney in Gloucestershire, or the similiarly named place in the former Welsh county of Denbigh.The alternative to this proposal is that the modern surname derives from a now 'lost' medieval village of which the only reminder in the 20th century is the surviving surname, sometimes as with this one, in a variety of spellings. The make-up of the name suggests that it originates from the pre 7th century Olde English and Norse 'saurr' meaning muddy or slow moving, plus 'eg', an island. On this basis one might expect the name to originate from the East Anglian region as this was an area controlled for centuries by various types of Scandanavian, and was also an area which, until it was drained in the 15th and 16th centuries, consisted of many rivers and lakes between islands, large and small. Locational surnames are 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after the left their original homes for whatever reason, and who moved elsewhere. Spelling being at best problematical, and accents very thick, lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings of the surname. In this case early examples of the surname recordings include: Susan Sarney, who was christened at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, Marylebone, city of London, on December 20th 1620, and Alexander Sarnye, in a somewhat varied spelling, but who was probably related, as the recording is for his daughter Prewdence, christened at St Mary-le-Bone on December 12th 1644.
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