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Penney Family HistoryRecorded in the spellings of Penny, Penney and Pinney, this is a medieval English nickname surname. It derives from the pre 7th century word "penig", the Middle English "peni", meaning a penny. The penny was the common unit of value when money was still an unusual phenomenon, and by no means denoted a coin of little value, as it does today. It was the only unit of coinage in England until the early 14th century when the groat and the gold noble were introduced. The penny was a silver coin of considerable value, and the nickname may therefore have denoted a person of some substance.
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