Recorded in some thirty different spellings including Castan, Castaneda, Castenda, Castanares, Castagna etc. this is a name of French origins but found throughout Southern Europe. It derives originally from the Olde French word 'castanh', itself from the Latin (Roman) 'castanea' and translates as 'chestnut'. The surname is either a nickname for a person with auburn hair, unusual in itself amongst the very dark haired southern europeans, or it may be residential or occupational and describe a person who either lived by, or was responsible for the management of, a chestnut grove.Occupational surnames were popular in all countries during the formation period for hereditary surnames which stretched from the 13th century to the 20th, and the coming of the telephone. The telephone more than any other cause, has been responsible for 'fixing' the spellings of surnames. Early examples of the surname recording include Santos Castenada on October 29th 1651 at Santa Maria de Guadaloupe, Mexico, Torres Castaneda at Santa Catarina, Districto Federal, Mexico, on December 20th 1711, Carmena Castan, San Severo, Foggia, Italy, on August 8th 1831, Agostino Castagna, on March 4th 1876, at Vicenza, Italy. The coat of arms associated with the name has the blazon of per fesse, in chief blue and silver, six bendlets, in base, a gold field charged with five roasting pans, two, one, two, in black. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Luissa Castaneda, which was dated September 10th 1649 at Asuncion, Districto federal, Mexico, during the reign of King Phillip 1V of Spain and Emperor of Mexico, 1619 - 1665. 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.
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