Recorded as Gartenfeld and Gartenfield, this is a German or Scandanavian surname, and one which has been well recorded in England for at least one hundred and fifty years. In the 18th century there was a serious problem with "surnames" in much of Northern Europe, because as in Wales today, as little as a dozen names were held by 80% of the population. This lead to the creation of local, and often occupational nicknames, on the basis of "Jones, the butcher". As a result several governments, of which the leaders were Germany and Sweden set out to deliberately create new ornamental surnames based upon an idealised and idylic countryside. Several thousand such surnames were eventually established, and some became associated with refugees who had fled from areas under Muslim control such as Armenia, Palestine and the Balkans. These compounds were usually made up of elements of nature randomly picked, such as Seburg (sea hill), or Bromburg (bramble hill), or in this case Garden field. The English recordings include John Henry Gartenfeld, whose place of origin is not known. He was recorded at least four times as a christening witness at the famous church of St Marylebone, in the city of London. The first was on Christmas Day, 1836, when his son John William was christened, and the last on July 18th 1842, when another son Charles was also christened. In between he appears twice in the register as Gartenfield, but this spelling does not seem to have been retained, so was probably simply a mistake.
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