Recorded as Tunna, Tunnah, Tonna, and Tanna, this very interesting surname has two possible origins, one English and the other French. If English it may derive from the pre 7th century word "tunne" meaning a tun. This was a large barrel holding 252 gallons of water, and in medieval times the surname was given as an occupational name to a maker of these vessels. It French it is also occupational deriving from the word "tondeur" and describing a shearman, one who sheared animals. Amongst the early examples of the recordings is that of William le Tunnere, in the Medieval Occupation Register of Hampshire in 1280. Early recordings of the surname taken from surving English church registers include; Elizabeth, the daughter of John and Susana Tunna, who was christened on October 29th 1667, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; Ann, daughter of Richard and Rebeckak Teenah, was christened at St. Stephen, Coleman Street, London; on February 26th 1769, Elizabeth, daughter of John and Elizabeth Tonna, was christened at St. Andrew, Holborn, London, whilst Edward Tunnah married Hanna Keen on July 30th 1792, at Manchester Cathedral. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh le Tundur. This was dated 1275, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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