This surname of CHENNAULT was a French topographic name for 'one who lived near an irrigation channel'. The name was derived from the Old French 'chenal', pipe. The name is also spelt CANAL, CHENAULT, CHENAUX, LACHENAL, CANALETTO, CANALINI and DELACHANAL. The name was also used as an occupational name for a seller of cinnamon, a spicer. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Early records of the name mention John CANEL, who was recorded in London, England in the year 1314, and Richard CANNELL was recorded in Warwickshire, England in 1428. A notable member of the name was Giovanni Antonia CANAL CANALETTO (1697-1768), the Italian painter, born and worked mostly in Venice. He was the son of a theatrical scene painter; he studied in Rome under Panini, but returned to Venice in 1730. Between 1746 and 1756 he worked in England, and on his return to Venice, his views of the city became immensely popular with tourists, especially the British. Unlike his rival Guardi, he enjoyed extraordinary success.
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