This most interesting surname is of early medieval German origin, and is a rare name composed of the elements "Jorn" a Frisian diminutive of the personal name "George", itself from a Greek personal name "Georgios", farmer, plus the Germanic suffix "-ing"; hence "Jornig", which later became "Joerning". The personal name "George" was in use in England before the Norman Conquest. The popularity of the name was due to the legend of St. George, whose dragon-slaying exploits had caught the popular imagination throughout Europe by the end of the Middle Ages, and who is also considered the patron saint of England. The root of the surname appears in Germany, in the late 16th Century, when one Christoph Joerns married Catarina Gralen, on October 10th 1592, at Hannover Bothfeld, Hannover, while the surname itself is first recorded in the late 17th Century (see below). Other early recordings of the surname include the marriage of Johann H. Joerning and Catrina E. Bisterfeld on January 28th 1706, at Heuerssen, Schaumburg-Lippe; and the marriage of Johann Otto Joerning to Anna Catharina Starden on April 15th 1711, at the same place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adelheit Joernings, which was dated October 18th 1692, marriage to Cord Wilkening, at Stadthagen, Schaumburg-Lippe, during the reign of Leonard 1, Hapsburg 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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