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It is unclear to my family as to how Huguenot/Hugenot became a surname. So far, we've been traced back to the mid 1600's to Anthonie Huguenot. By the late 1800's, the "u" had been dropped, and the name had simply become "Hugenot". (Although there are others out there with the name intact. I've been told that all of those in America with our spelling are our relatives. All those with the original spelling are from another branch.) Actually, so far we have not been able to make the connection between our family and the actual "Huguenots". As Anthonie and his son Symon both died in the late 1600's (within 8 years of one another), it has been speculated that they were executed during the period of unrest surrounding the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Also, during this time an entire family converted to Catholicism. My father and I have always assumed that, as you said, the Huguenot name was "adopted". We've often wondered what our name may have originally been. I'm sure that we'll probably never know. I was told by the Huguenot Society of America that it would probably be ten times harder to trace our roots back to the original "Huguenots", simply because our surname is actually Hugenot. Go figure.
The Hugenot/Huguenot surname is quite rare. I've heard estimates ranging from 1:500,000 to 1:1,000,000 people have the name. I've never met anyone outside of my family with the name. As a kid, I always looked in the phone book of every town that I visited to see if there was another Hugenot. There never was.