This multinational surname, associated with the famous novelist Jules Verne (1828 - 1905), is recorded in many spellings. These include: Fairn, Farnes, Feirn, Fern, Fearne, Fearnes, Fernes, Ferns, Varnes and Varns (English), Verne (English and French), Vernau, Vergne, Vernois, Vergnas, Vernard, Lavergne, and Vernay (French). It is either topographical or perhaps occupational and describes either someone who lived by a place where ferns were abundant, or more likely, it described a seller of ferns. These were widely used for both a floor covering and even for bedding in medieval times. Some types of fern were also used for animal fodder, particularly in winter. The derivation is from either the Olde English pre 7th century word "fearn", or the equally ancient French "fouge". The forms with "v" for "f" being found in the southern and south-west of England, and in France in Normandy down to the Massif Central. The surname is also found in Ireland where it is said to be a synonym of O' Reneham, although it maybe 17th century Huguenot. It is most recorded in County Offaly. Early examples of the surname recording include Henry atte Verne in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Worcestershire, in the year 1275, whilst Joceus de Ferne was mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. Jan Baptiste Vernau was recorded at Cond-sur-L'escaut, the departement of Nord, on March 14th 1659, and Anne Marie Verne, at Blamont, Meurthe-et-Moselle, on March 25th 1708. Ellen Ferns aged 25 was an Irish famine immigrant who sailed on the ship "Clifton of Liverpool" for New York on May 17th, 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de la Ferne. This was dated 1275, in the Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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