Tong(u)(e) Family : Overview of the history of the surname Tong(u)(e)
by Herald F. Stout, Tong Tongue and Allied Families Pg. xii-xiii
The Tong(u)(e) Family
The name apparently derives from two sources; from de Tongue, a genealogical name in Norman French and as a place name, either geographical or descriptive as atte Tongue, i.e., being on a Tongue of land or peninsula.
There appear to have been several towns or estates by this name. In the parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham, Lancashire, Tonge Hall appears as a place name in the XIV Century. The manor or march of TVING (Tong) appears in the Domesday Survey in the Parish of Birstall near Leeds, county York. It is generally called the "Lordship of Tong" and from the Tongs and Mirfields was transmitted to the Tempest family. There is a Tong village in Shropshire, where the surname still exists: it has it's own church and vicarage - encompassing about 3,500 acres; Tong parish in Kent holds but 1,600 acres. This latter was referred to as "Thong castle" having traditionally stood on the site granted for as much land as could be encompassed by thongs cut from the hide of a single ox. The first owner of record seems to have been Leofric, Earl of Leicester, husband of Lady Godiva, but the Norman Conquest took all titles from the Saxons and conferred them on Roger de Montgomery, created Earl of Shrewsbury, Chichester and Arundel.
The name is pronounced in England and Ireland as 'tonj' [Note: I have never heard it pronounced as anything other that 'Tong' with a hard 'g' by the Lancastrian and Yorkshire Tonge's - SJT], but in America universally as "tong" with the hard "g". The spelling has not been fixed either; we find birth registrations as Tong and Tonge, and in the list of graduates of Dublin University, one is given as Tonge and another as Tong alias Tongue. From 1652 the name has appeared in Irish records in County Wexford (New Ross) and other east Leinster counties; it is found mainly in English records, however, and in the index to publications of the Historical Mss. Commission, Tonge and Tongue are equated.
Up thru the XVI Century we must remember we are dealing with a period in which surnames were the exception rather than the rule; while surnames arrived in England well before the Continent, the Britons had their own peculiar system of cognomens which confused family name with place names and title designators.
The Tongues appear early in America in both Maryland and Connecticut. Later they appear in New York and Pennsylvania, however, the most numerous were in Maryland. Friendship Tongue, an attorney and possibly a younger son came to Maryland in 1649. Thomas Tongue, indentured was transported in 1650. Two others must have slipped by the immigration people as we find John Tongue, a merchant tailor of London, marrying Elizabeth Bean (Bayne), widow of Ralph, in 1673; he returned to England apparently. Another John Tongue married in 1664, Margaret Phillips; he died shortly after.
A John Tongue died in 16 August 1686 bequeathing to Penelope Hayden, daughter of Frances Hayden , some 800 acres. James Tongue is mentioned as infant heir in 1725, to his grandfather Heigh's estate in All Saints Parish, Calvert co., Md. (Will 18-410.)
We also find George and "Goody" Tongue, tavernkeepers, in New London, Conn. in 1652 "disturbing the peace." A daughter, Elizabeth, married Gov. Fitz-John Winthrop. The tavern remained in the family for four generations. A Captain James Tongue "with a large family in the South" is mentioned also, which might indicate a Maryland connexion. Colonial history also mentions a John Tonge in New York and Christopher Tonge, cosmetologist, in Philadelphia.
In colonial Charleston, S.C., we find Henry Tong in 1774 as a deputy surveyor. In 1698 Robert Tongue, indentured, of Farnworthneare, Manchester, [Farnworth, near Manchester - SJT] arrived in the ship Loyalty. In 1706 Margaret Tongue, 19, indentured, also of Manchester, arrived. A Rev. John Tonge, rector of St. Pauls Parish, and wife Anna appear much later.
There is little to connect these persons to English lineage. English genealogy, unfortunately, usually lists only the first son and/or heir in its tables which makes it most difficult.
Henry & Mary TONGUE: