This interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is a locational surname deriving from a now "lost" place in West Yorkshire, thought to have been situated in the parish of Halifax, to judge by the distribution of early examples of the surname. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared in Britain since the 12th Century, due to natural causes, such as the Black Death (plague) of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and to the widespread practice of enforced "clearing" of rural areas to create sheep pastures during the 14th and 15th Centuries. The placename Hemingway means "Hemming's path", derived from the Old Norse personal name "Hem(m)ingr", originally a patronymic from a short form of any of various compound personal name with the first element "heim", home, with the Middle English word "wey", way, path, a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "weg". The modern surname can be found as Hemingway or Hemmingway. One of the most notable bearers of the name was the novelist Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961), whose novels include "A Farewell To Arms", "For Whom The Bell Tolls", and "The Old Man And The Sea". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Hemyngway, which was dated 1379, in the "Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377-1399. 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.