Lemanu and probably Maneau and Maneux is seemingly a surname of French origins or perhaps first recorded in French Polynesia. Certainly it always seems to have a French background, even if we have not found any early recordings in France. This is often the case. The standard reason being that most early French registers were deliberately destroyed in the infamous Revolution of 1792, because they had been used by the King''s secret police. Either way it probably lead to a lot of death, destruction and bloodletting.As it happens (always happens one might say?), in a few areas sanity prevailed, and we were able to find a few 18th century surviving recordings as Manu, Maneau, and Maneux. They probably translate literally as ''THE little man'' (Lemanu) or ''Little man'' - Maneau and Maneux. However spelt all appear to be variant forms of Man, Mann, or Manus (80/85% chance), recorded in much of Europe. However it is just possible given variations of language and dialect that Leman, Lemans, Lemand, Lemant, Lemont could provide an alternative locational origin (10/15%). Between the 5th century a.d when the Roman Empire held sway over much of the continent, Latin being the ''glue'' for most regions, - and a thousand years later when the whole map of Europe had changed completely, Latin had vanished from normal speech, whilst hereditary surnames were almost everywhere. These were often locational, sometimes job descriptive, and probably for most people ''nicknames''. Man or Mann is of pre 7th century Germanic origin, given to a strong man! So a nickname. The sense was the same as the recent American expression ''He''s your man'' or He''s the man''. Man(n) was also used as a part of a compound such as Foreman which described an early leader, or as an early personal name which became surnames - Hermann (army - man(n)) or Hanselmann (John - protector - man(n)). The use of ''Le'' as a demonstrative pronoun would also suggest a nickname origin, possibly one found in French Colonies from the 17th century. The earliest recording that we have, is that of Jean Manu, who married Jeanne Gorquin, itself an interesting surname, at Chateauden, in the department of Eure et Loire, France, on March 1st 1745, in the reign of King Louis XVth of France (1715 - 1774).
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