It is tempting to describe this as an Italian surname, and this is partially true, although it has been recorded in Britain for a very long time. It derives from either of two possible sources. The first is a nickname or byname from the ancient name 'Constantine', originally Greco-Roman, but not recorded in England until at least the 12th century. This suggests that it was brought in either by the Norman invaders of 1066, or the slightly later 'crusaders' or at least those that returned from their various attempts to 'free' the Holy Land. 'Constantine' developed several short spellings including Constans, Tanty, Tainty, Tinty, and probably Tinto. Examples of these recordings include William Tinto, who married Ann Blythman at St Brides, Fleet Street, London, on October 8th 1618, Will Tanty, christened at St Leonards, Shoreditch, on February 21st 1747, and Rosa Tinti, who married Carlo Rovedino at St Pauls, Covent Garden, London, on December 19th 1778. The second source is from Venice, and may well describe an early member of the Mafia, as the word 'tinto' in Southern Italian means a barbarous person! It seems to be generally recorded in its patronymic form as Tintoretto, Giovanni Baptista Tintoretto being so recorded at Venice on July 1st 1558. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Constantin, which was dated 1153, the chartulary rolls of the county of Stafford, during the reign of King Stephen, known as 'Stephen of Blois', 1135 - 1154. 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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