Recorded as Han, Hann, Hans, Hanse, Hanich, Hasch, and diminutives such as Hanck, Handt, Handke, Hansell, Handell, Hendle, and patronymics Hannessen, Hennesson, Hanneken and others, this interesting surname is of pre 6th century German origins. Now recorded throughout Europe in over two hundred different spelling variations, it derives from the pre medieval given name "Han or Hann", which is often a short form of Johan, from the Hebrew "Yochanan", meaning Jehovah has favoured me (with a son). However a second and possibly earlier origin may be transpositions from the personal names 'Haimric' later Henry or 'Randulf' later Randolph. Henry was composed of the elements "haim", meaning home, and "ric", power, or Randolph, which was also a Germanic personal name composed of the elements "rand", meaning the rim (of a shield), and "ulf", a short form of wolf. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving records in Germany and England include Hainrich Hans of Ringlers, Germany, in 1357, Richard Hannesone in the Poll Tax Rolls of Nottingham, England in 1379, Bartolme Hanncke of Ravensburg, Germany, in 1480, and the marriage of Joseph Hann and Mary Luis, on October 31st 1706, at St. James's, Dukes Place, Westminster. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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