According to the 'Dictionnaire etymologique des noms de France' this surname is recorded in France as Fontanier, Fontanet, and Fontany, in Spain as Fontaner, Fontanet, Fonquerna, and in England we are told as Fonqernie. However spelt it is of medieval French origins. It is one of a group that have the prefix 'font' meaning a place by a spring or branch of a small river, and is found in spellings many of which are actual place names, such as La Font, Delafont, Fontfroide (the cold spring), Fontrouge (red spring) Fontgrande (big spring) and others. As Fontanier or Fontany it is probably topographical or occupational for somebody who worked or at least lived at such a place. Locational surnames in particular are often 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original villages, perhaps seven hundred years ago, to live somewhere else. Spelling at best being problematical often lead to the creation of 'sounds like' spellings. In France the vast majority of early baptismal registers were destroyed during famous Revolution of 1792, when the church itself was banned and exiled until restored by Emperor Napoleon in 1802. These few surviving early recordings include Vital Fontanier at St Germain en Laye, Meurthe et Moselle, on February 23rd 1783, and in Spain Margarida Y Fonquerna at Santa Maria, La Bisbal, Gerona, on February 2nd 1754.
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