This unusual name is of German origin, and is an occupational surname for a dancer, juggler or entertainer of some description. The name derives from the German 'tanzer', dancer, entertainer, danceleader, a derivative of 'tanz', dance. The surname was introduced into England in the 16th and 17th Centuries by German immigrants, there being flourishing trading links between the Continent and England, and resulting emigration from each side. In Germany the name is recorded as 'Tanser', 'Tanzer' and 'Danzer': one Anna Sabina Tanser married Joannes Andreas Koch in Jagstkreis, Wuertt, Germany. In England the name is recorded as 'Tanser', 'Tansor', 'Tansur' and 'Tenser', and found mainly in the county of Leicestershire. The christening of John Tanser was recorded at Ashby Magna in Leicestershire on March 25th 1695. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alice Tansa (marriage to Christopher Kinlynger), which was dated October 19th 1561, St. Dunstan's in the East, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, '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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