- This interesting surname of English origin is either a locational name from places so called in many parts of England, or, a topographical name for someone dwelling in a valley, both deriving from the Middle English "dene" (Old English pre 7th Century "denu") meaning "valley". It may also be a nickname for someone thought to resemble a dean, an ecclesiastical official who was the head of a chapter of cannons in a cathedral, or more probably an occupational name for a servant of a dean, deriving from the Middle English "deen" when is a borrowing of the Old French "D(e)ien", itself coming from the Latin "decanus", meaning "a leader of ten men". The surname dates back to the late 11th Century, (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Deane, Dean, Deans, Deanes. One Mildred Dean married William Hawkes on November 19th 1585 at Newgate Street, London and Ruth Deane married John White on August 14th 1586 at Finchley. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Dene, which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book, during the reign of King William 1, "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.