This intriguing and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has a number of distinct interpretations. Firstly, it may be a metonymic occupational name for a maker or user of tongs, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "tang(e). Secondly, the name may be of locational origin, from any of the various places, such as those in Lancashire, Shropshire and West Yorkshire, called Tong from their situation by a fork in a road or river, from the Olde English "tang(e) or "twang", tongs, fork of a river. The name may also derive from the Olde English "tunge", tongue, used in two senses; as a nickname, for someone thought to be a chatterbox or a scold, and as a topographical name for someone who lived on a tongue of land. Finally, the name may be locational from a place named with this element, such as "Tonge" in Leicestershire. Early examples of the surname from these sources include: Richard de Tong (1200, Yorkshire); William in la Tunge (1248, Sussex); and Nicholas Tonge (1279, Buckinghamshire), while the modern surname can be found as Tong(e), Tongs and Tongue. Among the recordings of the name in London Church Registers is the christening of John, second son of James and Ann Tongs, on May 28th 1641, at St. Gregory by St. Paul's. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wluricus Tunge, which was dated 1188, in the "Kalendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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