This most interesting surname may be English, German, Scottish or Welsh. If the latter it is locational from a place called "Tonna" near Swansea in Glamorgan. This placename is composed of either the Anglo-Saxon word "ton", a settlement surrounded by a hedge or palisade, or it may be related to the Welsh word "tan", fire; hence "area cleared by fire". Alternatively, "Tonna" may be a dialectal variant of "Tunn", which derives from "Tunna", a pet form of the Anglo-Saxon personal names "Tunraed", "Tunwulf" and "Tunric".If German it probably originates from the word 'thuna' meaning thunder, with Dietrich Tonna being recorded in Mulhausen in 1310. Finally, it may be a metonymic occupational name for a maker of tuns i.e. large beer casks, from the Anglo-Saxon word "tunne", tun. One Robert Tunne appeared in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1279. The name appears in Scotland as "Tunna" and one Margaret Tunnow had a tenement in Peebles in 1439. Elizabeth Tonna married Joseph Paise on December 3rd 1775 at Christ Church, Spitalfields, London. Lewis Hippolytus Joseph Tonna (1812 - 1857) was a naval schoolmaster and later became secretary to the Royal United Service Institution. He married Charlotte Brown (1790 - 1846) who edited protestant magazines. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Tun which was dated 1218, in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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