Recorded in some thirty spellings including Chasan, Chassan, Chasen, Chason, Chasson, Chaston, this is a name of French origins, and one found throughout Europe and parts of the American continent. It derives originally from the Olde French word 'chastan', 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 only usually became hereditary when a son followed his father into the same line of business of profession. In England although the name probably came over with William, Duke of Normandy at the famous Conquest of 1066 it is most clearly associated with the later Huguenot Protestant movement, many of whose members fled to the British Isles in the 17th and 18th century to avoid religious persecution. Early examples of the surname recording include Hugh Chasen at St Olaves Southwark, on June 20th 1655, Jean Chasson at Threadneedle Street French church, on November 28th 1686, and Richard Chaston at St James Westminster, on August 28th 1776. Other are 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. Throughout the centur ies, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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