This German surname of FUNK was a nickname for a small, lively individual, originally derived from the Old German word FUNKESPARK. The name is also spelt FUNKHOUSER, FUNKE, FUNCK, FINKELSTEIN and FINKELS. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. A notable member of the name was Casimir FUNK (1884-1967) the Polish-born American biochemist, born in Warswaw. He studied in Berlin and Bern and worked as a research assistant at the Lister Institute. He emigrated to the USA in 1915, and later headed a research institute in Warsaw. He was best known for his work on vitamins which he identified and names 'vitamines' in 1912.
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