This unusual and interesting surname has two possible origins; firstly, it may be of Germanic origin, and is either a topographical name for someone living at a windy spot, deriving from the Germanic "fohn" meaning wind, or, a locational name from a place named with that element, such as Fohnsdorf in Austria, from "fohn" plus "dorf", village, hence "windy village". Secondly, it may be of early medieval English origin, from the Middle English "fond" meaning foolish, which was used to describe a "professional fool", a comedian or member of a theatre group.The surname dates back to the late 13th Century, (see below). Variations in the spelling of the surname include Foane, Foon, Fonne, Fon, and Fohn. Church Records include the christening of Maria Fohn, on the 20th February 1598 at Maikammes, Pfalz, Bayern, whilst English registers include the patronymic forms Fons and Fones, as in John Fones who married Mary Chester at St James Church, Dukes Place, London on January 9th 1667. An unhappy name holders was one Robert Foane, who embarked from Bristol aboard the "Betty" bound for the Barbados in December 1685. He was a victim of the brutality of "bloody" Judge Jefferies, being given ten years hard labour for his part in the Monmouth rebellion. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Petrus Fonne, which was dated 1292 in the Subsidy Rolls of Nottinghamshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as the Hammer of the Scots, 1272-1307. 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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