This interesting and long-established surname is of early medieval Germanic origin, and has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Heun may belong to that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes and peculiarities, and mental and moral qualities. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Middle High German "hiune", giant, denoting someone of large, bulky stature, or one magnanimous in spirit.The second possibility is that heun is a variant of Hein(e), itself a shortened form of the male given name "Heinrich", composed of the elements "haim, heim", home, and "ric", rule, power. "Henri" and "Heinrich" remained aristocratic in France and Germany, and of the several German Emperors bearing the name, Henry 11, who died in 1024, was canonized in 1152. Early examples of the surname include: Sypel Hune (Frankfurt, 1359); Mertin Hewne (Gorlitz, 1427); and Nickel Hune (Chemnitz, 1458). On January 28th 1614, the marriage of Anna Heun to Michael Dieterlin was registered at Altdorf, Heckarkreis, Wuertt, Germany. A Coat of Arms granted to the Heun(e) family is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General", and depicts an azure fish arranged in bend on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jacob der Hune, which was dated 1324, in "Early Medieval Records of Schaffhausen", Germany, during the reign of Louis 1V of Bavaria, 1314 - 1347. 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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