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Our 2,744 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

I started researching the Minns name (my maternal line) around 1996. My research led to contact with others researching the name and we set up an informal family history group for all Minns researchers on Yahoo in September 2000. As a representative of the group I registered the name with the Guild of One-Name Studies in 2011.

Variant names

Over the years, the name has been written as MINS, MYNNS, MYNS, MINES, MINNES, MYNNES, MINGS, MYNGS but the UK spelling has been standardised as MINNS for at least the last 100 years.

Name origin

According to P H Reaney'€™s A Dictionary of English Surnames, revised by R M Wilson, 1997, Oxford University Press, the name derives from Minna, a pet-form of a woman'€™s name, perhaps Ameline, Emeline or Ismenia.

Historical occurrences of the name

Vice-Admiral Sir Christopher Myngs, who claimed to be the son of a shoemaker, was baptised at Salthouse, Norfolk in 1625. He died from wounds sustained in a battle with the Dutch and was buried 13 June 1666. Samuel Pepys described him as "€œa very stout man, and a man of great parts and most excellent tongue among ordinary men."€

Dr Allan Glaisyer Minns (1858--€“1930) was Britain'€™s first black mayor. In 1904 he was elected mayor of Thetford, Norfolk. Born in the Bahamas, he was a grandson of John Minns, a Quaker, born in 1771 in Reading, Berkshire.

Distribution of the name

According to the British surnames website the most populous counties in the 1881 census were Norfolk (418 entries), followed by London (184) and Suffolk (103). This is confirmed by the Great Britain Family Names Profiling website and our own research.


We have tested a small number of males with the Minns surname and intend to expand this.