This ancient surname is of early medieval German origin. It is one of a type known as "ornamental", these names being created at about the time of the reformation, when possibly for the first time, people were begining to appreciate or understand the beauties of nature and their surroundings. The prefix as "Schon, Schoen or Schine" meaning handsome or beautiful, is used for literally hundreds of surnames, and to this was added a particular suffix which may have described the region where the name holder lived. This also means that the name can be locational, although we are not aware of any place called Schonfeld. In this case the name has been variously recorded as Schonfeld, Schonefeld, and Schonfelder, the latter spelling does imply a person who lives at Schonfeld. In the medieval times the name was also recorded as Schenvelder, with veld or veldt being interchangeable with feld. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic rolls and charters of the period include Hartdrait Schenvelder of Ockenheim in the year 1344 and later Johanna Sophia Schonfelds, christened at Ascheberge, Westfalen, Germany, on July 25th 1729. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of Hartradus dictus Scheinveldere, which was dated 1343, in the charters of the town of Bingen, in the Lower Rhineland, Germany, during the reign of Louis 1V of Bavaria, Emperor of Germany, 1314 - 1347.
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