This interesting and unusual name has two possible origins. The first being an Italian cognate of the personal name Vivian (from the Latin "Vivianus" a derivative of "Vivus" meaning "alive"). The name was introduced into England by the Normans and is first recorded in the 1175 "Pipe Rolls of Kent" - Johannes filius (son of) Vivian. The second distinct possibility is that the name is locational from Vienne in Calvados (Normandy). The surname from this source first appears in the latter half of the 12th Century, (see below).One, Hugh de Vyen(na) is recorded in the 1286 Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire. On August 2nd 1668 Robert Vian and Allse Pettite were married at St. James' Clerkenwell, London and on December 29th 1870 Rosa Letitia Vian and James Harris were married in St. Marks, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de (of) Viana, which was dated 1184, The Pipe Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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