Recorded as Figg, and the diminutives Figin and Figgin, the patronymics Figges, Figgins and probably others, this is an English surname, although arguably with some French input. It has two possible origins. The first is from the medieval word "fiquet", itself from the French "fiche", meaning an iron-point. As such the surname would have been given as an occupational name to a skilled ironsmith who made iron pointed weapons such as lances or spears, or implements such as ploughs and rakes. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, but only became hereditary when a son followed the father into the same trade. The second possible origin may be from the German word "feige", meaning fig. If so it could have been a topographical name for someone who lived by a fig orchard, or more likely was a name for a fruit merchant. Examples of early recordings include John Fygyn in the Wills list for the county of Sussex in 1545, whilst the London church registers include the marriage of John Figgins and Joane Greenaway at St. Margaret's, Westminster, on December 18th 1648; and the marriage of John Figins and Anne Eave on January 30th 1669, at St. Katherine's by the Tower of London. A coat of arms granted to the family has the blazon of a silver shield charged with a fig tree proper growing out of a hillock, the crest being a dexter arm holding a red cross crosslet fitchee. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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