This interesting and unusual surname is of Old French origin, and is one of the variant forms of the name Fontaine, which is in most instances a topographical name given to someone who lived near a spring or well, from the Old French "fontane", well, spring. However, the name may also be of French locational origin, from one of the many villages o called in France, for example Fontenay-le-Marmion, in Calvados, from which the surnames Fontenay and Fonteneau, now found in the United States, have arisen. The original surname was probably introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, or by Huguenot immigrants, and is found there as Fontaine, Fountaine and Fountain. This surname is also one of that group of French surnames now found on the North American continent, since many immigrants have settled there since the 17th Century. In this particular instance, the name is found particularly among the Cajun people of Louisiana, who were descended from early Acadian immigrants (Nova Scotia, Canada), deported to Louisiana in the 18th Century. Early examples include the christenings at Montierneuf, Poitiers, Vienne, France, of Janne, Isabeau and Vincent, children of Joachim and Marie Fontenot, on December 28th 1682, July 2nd 1684, and December 15th 1693, respectively; as well as the christening of Jean, son of Pierre and Louise Fonteneau, on March 16th 1764, at Pointe Coupee, Louisiana; and the marriage of Charles Fontenot to Perine Vidrine at Opelousas, St. Landry, Louisiana, on July 22nd 1788. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo de Funteines, which was dated 1202, in the "Pipe Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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