This rare name is of Germanic origins where it is recorded in the early records in the spellings of Sanow, Sahndow and Zahnow as shown below. It is a locational name which describes a former inhabitant of the town of Zanow in the Province of Pommerania in the former state of Prussia, on the Baltic sea. The name is believed to mean "the fenced farm" (Zahn-word) of the pre 7th Century. The 18th Century variations of the surname spelling are a clear indication of the troubled period, which has long afflicted the Baltic Sea. The recordings include Johannes Sahndow christened at Woldegle, Meddenburg-Strelitz on December 15th 1718 and Euphresia Zahnow, christened at Schenkenberg-Prenzlav, Brandenburg on August 18th 1776. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Martin Sanow, which was dated November 13th 1710, (marriage to Christina Bartels at Glasow, Pommerania, Prussia), during the reign of Empror Joseph 1 of the Holy Roman Empire, 1705 - 1711. 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.