There are a number of spellings of this ancient name of Norse-Viking and Olde English pre 9th Century origins. The derivation is from "scene", a Scandinavian word meaning "clear or bright", which may be a baptismal name, but can also be habitational for one who lived at a place such as Scansby in East Yorkshire, "the bright farm" (bi). The spellings have such a wide range that it suggests that the original place of the "Scanes" may be a now "lost" hamlet. These spellings include: Skain, Skains, Scane, Scain, and Scanes; the plural as it occurs may be dialectal or may be a patronymic "son of Scane". The recordings from London Church Registers include the following examples: Robert Skane, who was a witness at St. Giles', Cripplegate, on August 3rd 1589, whilst on September 19th 1791, Susannah Scanes married James Main at the Church of St. Ann's, Soho, Westminster, in the reign of King George 111 (1760 - 1820). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Maria Skaine, which was dated September 12th 1585, christened at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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