This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from either of two places called Winster. The one in Derbyshire, recorded as "Winsterne" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Winesterna" in the 1121 "Register of Antiquities", is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Wine" meaning "Friend", with "thyrne", thorn-bush; hence, "Wine's thorn-bush". The other in Lancashire is named from the river Winster, identical with "Vinstra" in Norway, which is named from a derivative of the Old Norse "vinstri", left, and means "the left one". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently produced several variations on the original spelling of the name, which in the modern idiom appears as Winster, Wenster, Winstare and Winnister. On April 13th 1856, Samuel Winnister and Harriett Seymour were married at St. John the Baptist, Shoreditch, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Winster, which was dated February 2nd 1582, witness at a christening at St. Andrew's, Penrith, Cumberland, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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