Nanson

Nanson - what does Nanson surname mean?

Recorded as Nanson and very occasionally as the dialectal Nansom, this is an English surname. It is a metronymic, which is to say that it descends from a mothers name not the father. This is not as rare an occurence as may be supposed, with some very popular surnames such as Marriott meaning `The son of Mary`, deriving from the similar source. In this case the origination is from the baptismal name Ann, through the nickname `Nan`, although the French medieval spellings of Nanon and Nanette may also be a source. It is said that during the Middle Ages Nan was such a popular short form that even people christened Ann were always referred as Nan. This included Ann Boleyn, however after her unfortunate `reign` the name fell into disrepute, and has never regained its popularity. To add further fuel to the fire a `nanny house` was a bordello in the 17th century, and in the ballad of `The two women of Abingdon` one of the women called Nan was described as `wanton`! The name was then changed again to Nancy, a form which has remained popular ever since. The earliest known recording is that of Robert Nanson in the Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire in 1379.

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