This most interesting and unusual name is a Dutch patronymic of the German name "Thon", which itself derives from an aphetic form of the given name "Ant(h)on" which is one of the most popular European personal names. Anthony, derives from "Antonius", an ancient Roman family name of unknown etymology. Its popularity in Christendom was largely due to the cult of the Egyptian hermit St. Antony (251-356 AD) who gathered a community of hermits around him, and for that reason is regarded as the founder of monasticism. The most famous member of the Roman family was the soldier and triumyir Marcus Antonius (83-30 BC) (Mark Anthony). Variants of the name are Theunisse (1626), Teunis (1633), Theunisz (1638) and Theunis (1642). The name was also used as a personal name as one Tennis Teunissen was recorded in 1653 at Amerongen, Utrecht, Holland. Arie Thennissen married Lijntje Jans on April 20th 1615 at Ridderkerk, South Holland, and one Dingeman Theunissen married Maria Jans on December 8th 1641 at Sprang, North Brabart, Holland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aeltie Tennis married Meeuwis Ariens, which was dated April 9th 1595 at Ridderkerk, South Holland, during the reign of King Philip 11 of Spain (1556-1598) who ruled Holland. 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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