This surname of FORNEY was a French, Italian and Spanish occupational name for a baker. The name was derived from the Old French word FOURNIER, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form FURNARIUS (oven). The name has numerous variant spellings which include FOURNIE, LEFOURNIER, LEFOURNIE, FORNARI, FORNER and FURNARI, to name but a few. It may also have been used for someone whose special task in the kitchen of a great house or castle was the baking of bread, but since most humbler households did their own baking in the Middle Ages, it may also have referred to the owner of a communal oven used by the whole village. The right to be in charge of this and exact money or loaves in return for its use was in many parts of the country a hereditary feudal privilege. The name may also occasionally have been used by someone noted for baking particularly fine bread or by a baker of pottery or bricks. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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