This unusual name has two possible interpretations, both of Anglo-Saxon origin. The first of these is from an early medieval nickname, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cin", chin, used of someone with, variously, a prominent or long chin, a conspicuous beard, as in this quotation from an early 13th Century poem, "swor bi his chinne that he wuste Merlin", or else for someone notably clean-shaven. The second possible origin of the surname is topographical, as in the recording of one Ryner Attechine in London in 1298 and denotes residence by a deep ravine or crevice.The derivation here is from the Olde English word "cinu" meaning "fissure, cleft, or chasm", also found in placenames such as Chineham in Hampshire and Chinley in Derbyshire. The marriage of Isaac Chin and Sarah Stacey was recorded at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1704. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephen Chinne, witness, which was dated 1243, in the "Assize Court Records of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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