This ancient and distinguished name is derived from the Old High German "kuning", Middle High German "koni(n)g", king, and is one of that interesting group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. In this instance, the nickname was used to refer to someone thought to conduct himself in a kingly manner, or to one who had played the part of a king in a play or pageant, or to one who had won the title in some contest, or perhaps to those who had been given the title from presiding over festivities. In some rare cases the surname may be occupational in origin, for someone who had served in a king's household. There are equivalent surnames in many European languages: King, in English; Roy and Rey in French; Rege in Italian; and Rey(es) in Spanish. Similar status names in Germany are Kaiser, Herzog, Graf, and Furst. The earliest recordings of the surname Konig are Latinized, as in Herm(ann) Rex, of Koln, in 1135. Examples of the name from Church Registers include the marriage of Anna Luneburg Konig to Johann Schusen in 1560, in Gnoien, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and the birth of Hans Konig at Dorndorf, Sachsen-Altenburg, also in 1560. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anna Koenig, which was dated 1418, marriage to Leonhard Weiss, at Augsburg, Schwaben, Bayern, Germany, during the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg, Holy Roman Emperor, 1410 - 1437. 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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