The surname of GINNIFER was a baptismal name 'the son of Guinevere'. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
Early records of the name mention Mabila Jeneuer, who was documented in the year 1296 in County Surrey, and Henry Juneuyr appears in 1332 at the same place. Joshua Junefer, was recorded in Shropshire in 1463. Jenefer, daughter of Thomas Bosowarne, who was baptised at St. Columb Major, Cornwall in the year 1554. Walter Jeniver and Jane Wright were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1661. The name has many variant spellings which include Gennifer, Jennifer and Genever and Geneffe.
The name was found in Shropshire as GWENHEVARE in 1431, and in Cornwall in 1554 as JENEFER.
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