This unusual surname may be of medieval Dutch or Germanic origin, and is a topographical name from residence by a horn-shaped piece of land where wild cats roamed. The derivation is from the Dutch "katten", genitive of "katte", cat, cognate with the German "katz, katzen", cat, plus "hoorn" (German "horn"), horn, horn-shaped. The initial element "katten" is widespread in Dutch and German surnames, examples include: attenburg (cat castle); Kattenbrok (cat mound); Kattenbusch (cat bush, shrub); and Katzenberg (cat mountain). Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. It is also likely that Kattenhorn may, in some instances, be locational from some minor place named with the above elements. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of Henry Kattenhorn at St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf, on March 23rd 1761, and the christening of Peter, son of Diederich and Ann Kattenhorn, at St. George in the East, on July 24th 1767. Lueder Kattenhorn from Osterholz, aged 16 yrs., who embarked from the port of Bremen in August 1864, was a German emigrant to New York. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jorn Kattenhoorn, which was dated November 30th 1745, witness at the christening of his daughter, Ahlke, at Pennigbuettel, Hannover, Germany, during the reign of Francis 1 of Lorraine, 1745 - 1765. 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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