This interesting and unusual surname, with variant spellings Tasney, Torsney and Tarsney, recorded in church registers of England and Ireland from the early 19th Century, is believed to be an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic patronymic Mac an tSasnaigh. The Gaelic prefix "Mac" means "son of", plus the definite article "an" and the personal byname "Sasanach", literally "the Englishman". Semi-Anglicized forms of the name Mac Atasney and Mac Atarsney are chiefly found in County Armagh where the birth of one, Thomas, son of Edward Mc Atasney and Mary Kelly, was recorded on July 14th 1864. On January 2nd 1852, a daughter, Mary Ann, was born to James Tasney and Anna Semster in Belfast, County Antrim. John Tosney married a Mary Rafter in St. Nicholas, Liverpool, Lancashire, on June 6th 1858, and on December 20th 1868, Anne, daughter of Bryan Torsney and Anne McGarry, was christened in Collooney, County Sligo. The marriage of Elleanora Tosney and Eugenious McCrann took place in Calry, County Sligo, on July 9th 1877. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Tosney, (christening), which was dated June 2nd 1816, St. Leonards, Shordeitch, London, during the reign of King George 111, "Farmer George", 1760 - 1820. 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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