The surname of GEDNEY was a locational name meaning 'one who came from GEDNEY' near Wisbech, in Lincolnshire. The name is also spelt GIDNEY and in some cases has become corrupted to KIDNEY. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Hervey de GEDENEY, who was recorded in the year 1273. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Later instances of the name mention John Seayre and Dorcas GEDNEY, who were married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1689, and Anne, daughter of Caleb GEDNEY was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1751. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France.
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