The English surname Dennis, also found in Scotland and Ireland, is of patronymic origin deriving from the personal name Dennis or Denis. The personal name means “follower of Dionysius” an Eastern God. The name was borne by various early saints, including St Denis, the martyred 3rd-century bishop of Paris who became the patron of France; the popularity of the name in England from the 12th century onwards seems to have been largely due to Norman French influence. The first record of the name is Walter Denys, a witness in the year 1272, at the Assize Court of the county of Staffordshire. The name is first recorded in the New World in 1630 when Thomas Dennis arrived in Boston. Today there are approximately 75,000 bearers of the name Dennis living in the US.
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