The surname of NEISS was a baptismal name 'the son of Agnes' a popular feminine name during the 12th to the 16th century. The name has many variant spellings which include ANNISON, ANNIS, ANINGSON , AGNES, INES, NEES, NEESE and NEESEN. This name was borne by an early Christian saint, a twelve year old Roman girl who was martyred for her Christian belief in the time of Diocletoan (245-313). When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day. Early records of the name mention Annis Thring, 1606 County Wiltshire. Annese Teswell, 1625 Canterbury. Peter Kinge and Mary Annys were married in London in the year 1616. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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