This interesting surname is of French origin, being a variant of "Chene", which is a French topographical name for someone who lived near a conspicuous oak tree, or in an oak forest, from the old French word "Chesne", oak from the late Latin "caxinus". The name may occasionally have been a nickname for a man "with a heart of oak", being introduced possibly, into England by French and Flemish Huguenot immigrants fleeing religious persecution at the end of the 16th and 17th Centuries. Thus the name first appears in London church registers in the late 17th Century (see below). Francis Duchesne married one Susanna Rigand at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, London on August 21st 1699, while James, son of Gideon and Mary Duchesne was christened also at St. Martins on May 2nd 1702. Jean Duchesne, a French Huguenot was christened at Savoye de Spring Gardens and De Crees, London on October 16th 1709. A French revolutionary newspaper called "Duchesne", helped promote the cause from 1790 - 1794. A Coat of Arms granted to a family called Duchesne in Luxembourg, consists of two black Martlets indicates one who subsists on "Wings of Virtue and Merit". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Isaac and Marie Du Chesgne, (French Huguenots), which was dated May 26th 1689, christening witness at Threadneedle Street, London, during the reign of King William and Mary "the Joint Monarchs" (1689 - 1702). 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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