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Yonge Family History
This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon pre 7th century origin, and as such is one of the earliest known origins. The derivation is from the word 'geong', which developed into the Middle English 'yunge or yonge', and literally means 'The young one'. Curiously children of the same sex in a medieval family were often given the same name, and to differentiate them a byname would be created and given (usually) to the younger bearers of the name baptismal name! The word was also used as a nickname for one who was 'young in heart', or appeared young, as in the example below...
Young (Variants: Yong, Yonge, Yongue, Younge, Yung, Youngs) - Scottish, English and Northern Irish nickname from Middle English ‘yong’ (derived from Old English ‘geong’), used to distinguish the younger of two bearers with the same personal name (typically, father or very occasionally a brother). In Scotland, where Gaelic-spoken areas, this was widely used as an English equivalent of the Gaelic nickname ‘Og’ or similarly the surname Ogg.
Not only Romanised from the Chinese surname ‘Yang’ or ‘Jung’, it is also the Americanisation of a cognate equivalent, in other European languages such as ‘Jung’ and ‘Junk’ (German), ‘De Jong(h)’ and Jong (Dutch) and French surname ‘Lejeune’ or ‘LaJeunesse’. Often found in Middle English with the Anglo-Norman French definite article, for example Robert le Yunge.
In 1881, the ‘Young’ population was widespread at 63,114 across the UK, with a frequent 2,590 residing in Kent. Speldhurst, Kent recorded Young as the top surname with 84 occurrences. An earlier example was recorded in 1377 - Willelmus Younge of Sutton at Hone, Kent.
It was reported that the most common occupation for 'Young' in 1881 was a Farmer. Coal Miner and Labourer were also reported in the top 3 occupations, with Agricultural Labourer being less common.
The UK has one related place name - Young’s End. Other countries also have place names - Canada has 2 (Young and Youngstown), Australia has a town called Young, as does Uruguay. United States has 10 relative place names including 5 Youngsvilles. The name is common for geographic features and sometimes refers to the geologic age of the mountain or body of water so named.
1881, 1891 Census The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1881 Census in Kent
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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