This very unusual and interesting name is of English topographical origin and can be found particularly in the counties of Cheshire and Lancashire, although it is also well recorded in London. The meaning of the name is "dwelling-place", "abode", in the sense of some where permanent, "home" in our modern idiom. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "gewuna", Middle English "wune" or "wone" meaning either habit or custom or in a related sense to stay habitually in one place. One "Christan Woan" married "Anthonie Shepherde" at St.Dunstans, Stepney in London in 1612 and "Henry Woan" married Margrett Johnson" on the 5th February 1615 in Ormskirk, Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Woan, christened. which was dated 5th September 1601, Priory Church, Cartmell, Lancashire. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, 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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