It is not surprising that this is an unusual surname, as its antecedents are of the rarest kind. Research indicates that Tonepohl is a Polish-German development from an early Latin, and specifically Christian Church origin. It derives from the pre-medieval title "dom" given to higher members of the church and to certain Cistercians, Benedictine, and Carthusian monks, plus the given name, in this case "Pohl", the German spelling form of Paul. The confusion arises through the letter transpositions in that "ds" and "ts" are interchangeable in German, whilst "ns" and "ms" became interchangeable by both dialect, and poor spelling. There is however a snag, church members were celibate, which leads to the conclusion that the name was probably theatrical and given to a member of the cast who played the part of "Dom Paul" (St. Paul?) in the travelling plays of the period. The earliest recording form is believed to be as shown below, however final research is seriously hampered by the lack of accurate recordings available in both East Germany (Prussia) and Poland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Tompoll, which was dated July 14th 1675, christened at Telgte Stadt, Province of Westfalen, Germany, during the reign of Frederick William, the Great Elector of Prussia, 1640 - 1688. 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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