This German surname is of 18th century origins, Recorded in several spellings including the base form of Schoenfisch, and Schenfisch, Shenfisch, and Shenfish, the latter being American spellings not found in the homeland, it is of a group of surnames known as "ornamental". In the period of history known as the "Age of Enlightenment", which was after the 15th century "Reformation" and upto the Napoleonic Wars of 1795 to 1815, people began to take notice of their surroundings and to try to live more with nature. This period also coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the development of the Middle classes, who had more leisure time. "Surnames" also fell into these developments because the spread of personal taxation created a need for better identification. As result "new" surnames were created by state decree particularly in Germany, and the great majority of these surnames were based upon the beauties of nature. In this case the prefix "Schoen" meaning bright or sparking was very popular, over fifty surnames sharing it, and to these have been added an equal number of suffixes such as Berg (mountain), Feld (field), and in this case the more unusual "Fisch", meaning "fish". The earliest proven church recording that we have been able to find is that of Charlotte Schoenfisch, who on May 31st 1801, married Johannm Christian Siewert at Berlin Stadt, state of Brandeburg, Germany.
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