This is one of a group of French regional surnames of noble and romantic origins. Like the German "von" and the Polish "ski" and the parallel French "de" it implies not only regional association and location, but ownership of a particular village or even city. In this case "Le Breton" means literally the man from Brittany, who owns "the new town". We have not been able to positively identify "Vieuville", but this is not unusual. The name is registered as "Le Breton" although sometimes the name spelling is Breton or Lebreton. Because of the endless civil war between the Protestants (Huguenots) and the Catholics, which raged from circa 1550 to the end of the monarchy, in 1792, French records are often erratic, and usually much later than equivalent British versions. In this case, recordings of the name include: Jean Le Breton of St. Nic, Finisterre, on January 26th 1670, and Claude Le Breton at St. Doucelin, Moselle, on December 12th 1692. Heraldically the name is recorded in Brittany, Lorraine, Maine, Tournay, and Isle de France, and surprisingly perhaps a Coat of Arms was also granted to "Le Breton" of Jersey, Channel Islands, and London, this being two gold chevrons on a blue field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Bernadine Le Breton, which was dated June 9th 1648, christened at Pontrioux, Cotes du Nord, France, during the reign of King Louis X1V of France, known as "The Sun King", 1643 - 1715. 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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