This extremely rare and unusual surname has two possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be of Germanic origin, and is an example of the sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress and occupation. The derivation of the name is from the German "funke", spark, and the nickname would have been given to a small, lively individual. The surname may also be a locational name from "Funshog", a village in Co. Louth, Ireland, the placename being a derivative of the Gaelic "fon(n)", land, region. Recordings of this surname from various Church Registers include: the christening of Maria Juliana, daughter of Andreas and Sybillae Funchen, on March 17th 170, at Meisenheim, Rheinland, Germany; the christening of Catherine, daughter of Philip and Margaret Funcheon, on July 16th 1864 at Kilsheelan, Co. Tipperary; and the marriage of Patrick Funchun and Catherine Dermody on November 8th 1866, at Callan, Co. Kilkenny. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anna Eva Funchen, which was dated January 17th 1691, marriage to Joannes Thetz, at Kirchberg Simmern, Rheinland, Germany, during the reign of Leopold 1, "Holy Roman Emperor", 1658 - 1705. 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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