With many surnames there can be a disagreement over origins, that certainly does not apply with "Le Jean". It is true that the usual French form is "Le Jeune" the name being a descriptive nickname from the medieval time for one who was the younger of two people in the same village with the same given name, or possibly the same occupation. In a sense it was equivalent to "Junior" particularly as used by the Americans, but whereas that form is a diminutive and almost always refers to a Father-Son relationship, this does not apply in the French, the people concerned need have no direct connection or association. Presumably the need for this identification was quite large as certainly the name is found in many forms ranging from Jouve to Jonneau, to Jovet and even Iovine! The English form which would seem to pre-date the Huguenot influx of the later 17th century in particular is Jeavons, Alexander Le Iouene being recorded in Lincoln in the time of Henry 11 (1154-1189). However there can be little doubt that Le Jean or Le Jeune entered Britain after 1580, and of the many examples the following are a selection. Tousin Le Jeune, also recorded as Toussaint Le Jeune, whose daughter Ledy, was christened at the French Church, Threadneedle Street, London on September 18th 1653, Jacques Le Jeune, whose daughter Marie was christened at the same church on October 20th 1693. On April 20th 1795, James Stalker Le Jeane was christened at St Pancras Old Church, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Marie Le Jeune, which was dated December 4 1631, married Magdalene Filleul at St Clements, Jersey, Channel Islands, during the reign of King Charles 1, known as "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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