Recorded as Gentner, Genthner, Guenthner, Guenther, and perhaps others, this is a Germanic medieval surname. It has two possible origins. The first is patyronymic, the second occupational. The patronymic version originates from the large group of compound personal names, that were created in that period of history known as "The Dark Ages", regarded historically as being from the fall of the Roman Empire in 412 a.d., through to the conquest of England by the Norman-French in 1066. These personal names were based upon apparently random selections of aspects of attainment or intent, and included honour, power, council, personal freedom, rule of law, religious belief and wisdom, some of which were in pretty short supply for most of the period. In this case the derivation is from the male name Guntard, translating literally as "war bold", a good example of the genre. These individual personal names have largely survived as surname in German speaking countries, but were almost wiped out in the Anglo-Saxon British Isles, with the introduction of "Christian names" from the Holy Land in the 12th century. The second origin is occupational, and according to the various dictionaries, describes an auctioneer. It is quite impossible from the early records to decide the true origin. The first known recordings in German records are those of Heinrich der Genter of Neuenberg in the charters of that city in 1327, whilst Burk Genttner appears in the pipe rolls of Engen, in 1458.
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