This is a name of French - Flemish origins, and apparently Huguenot associations. It is a developed form of the medieval "Maison Eau" - literally a water mill, and describes one who lived or worked at such a place. It is possible that the name could also have developed from "Maison Oeuvre" which literally describes a place where artistic work such as embroidery or tapestry was carried out. The surname is recorded in England from the early 18th Century, when Margaret Massoneau married Peter Miraude at the famous church of St. Martins in the Fields Westminster on May 6th 1711. By 1763 the spelling has changed to Maissonneuve, Gabriel Maisson - Neuve marrying Margaret Le Sage also at St. Martins in the Fields. In Flanders the name spelling first appears as shown below, a later development being Jan Massenhoven, recorded at Serooskerke, Zeeland on September 19th 1666. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Petroneella Van Massenhope, which was dated July 14th 1630, married Nicolaus Declerck at Torhout, West Vlaandered, during the reign of King Louis X111 of France, 1610 - 1643. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.