This interesting surname is of Anglo-Norman origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places in North France called Tournai (Orne); Tournay (Calvados); or Tourny (Eure), all having as their first element the pre-Roman personal name "Turnus" meaning "height, eminence", with the local suffix "acum", village, settlement. The surname has the distinction of being first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. This Domesday Baron, a follower of William the Conqueror, was granted lands in Lincolnshire. Further early recordings include: Thomas de Turnay (London, 1192) and William Turney (Nottingham, 1273). In the modern idiom the name is spelt Turney, Tournay and Tarney. On January 19th 1633, Sarah, daughter of Miles Tarnei, was christened at St. Nicholas', Gloucester, and on August 12th 1694, John, son of Henry Tarney, was christened at Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. Occasionally, Tarney may be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Irish surname "O'Tighearnaigh", descendants of the Lord, a name also Anglicized as Tierney, Terny, Terney and Tarnee. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Goisfridus Tornai, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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