This is a very interesting surname. Of French origins where it is recorded as Quest, Queste, Questienne, Questier, Quetier, Questel, Quetel, Questiaux and others, perhaps surprisingly as the name is much associated with Normandy, it does not appear to be recorded in England before1685. This date suggests that it is associated with the Huguenot Protestant refugee movement, many of whom who fled from France to avoid prosecution in the period from 1650 to 1750. This mass emigration, some fifty thousand it is said to England, reached its height about 1680, more or less the date when this name is first recorded. Its meaning is obscure, but it clearly originates from the Latin word 'questus, meaning to complain. It is possible therefore that it was originally a medieval nickname, either for somebody who continually complained, or who perhaps had some official capacity such as a solicitor, one who handled complaints. The French Dictionary of Surnames suggests that it described a tax collector, and it was certainly for many nameholders, occupational. Early examples of the surname recording include James Quest christened at St Sepulchre church in the city of London on January 5th 1685, and in France where the majority of civil and church registers were lost during the Revolutionary Years (1789 - 1795), John Questienne, at Cond-sur-L'escaut, Nord, on August 19th 1671, and Eloi Quest, at St Germain-au-Laye, Seine-et-Oise, on July 25th 1774.
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