This very interesting name is generally accepted as being French-Huguenot, although it is just possible that some name holders may derive from the Hampshire village name 'Fortun'. However, the early recordings all clearly show the French influence and we have no serious doubt as to their accuracy. The name is recorded no less than eight times in the French Heraldic Records, the name translating as 'the dweller at the small fort'. The name development includes Francois Fortain recorded at Threadneedle Street in 1682, and Francois Fortin, baptised at La Patiente Huguenot Church, Spitalfields in 1694. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Bartelemue Forten. which was dated 1560 Married Jane Ellywode at St. Margarets, Westminster. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I 'Good Queen Bess' 1558-1660. 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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