The English surname Penney, also found in Ireland, is derived from the Middle English term peni, peny meaning “penny,” applied as a nickname, possibly for a person of some substance or for a tenant who paid a rent of one penny. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Penig, which was dated 1191, in the "Pipe Rolls of Huntingdonshire." Further early recordings include, Gileburtus Penning, mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire, dated 1204, and in the records of the Shropshire Assize Court Rolls of 1221, a William Penney comes to notice. The name is first recorded in the New World in 1663 when Joanne Penney emigrated from England to Maryland. Today there are approximately 5,600 bearers of the name Penny living in the United States.
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