The surname of CUNY was of the occupational group of surnames 'a pelter, a dealer in skins'. The name was derived from the Old English word CONIG. 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.
The acquisition of surnames in Europe has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another. Early records of the name mention Richard le Cony who appears in 1296 in County Sussex, and Robert Cuny was documented in 1327, County Surrey. John Cunay of County Huntingdonshire was recorded in the year 1300.
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. Later instances of the name mention Henry Coney of Ditton, Lancashire, who was recorded in The Wills at Chester in 1592. Sarah, daughter of Thomas Conny was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1585, and Samuel Coney and Elizabeth Mills were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1794. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Registered at Marton and Bassingthorpe, County Lincolnshire.
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