Recorded in the spellings of Kearn, Kern, Kerne,Kerner, Kernes, and Kearns, this is a surname of multiple national origins. Confusingly it can be German, or English-Cornish, and sometimes Irish. Equally it has multiple meanings and derivations. If German and hence Anglo-Saxon (English) it probably derives from the pre 7th century word "gern" meaning desire, and usually found in the early personal names "Gernwin and Kernwin". However the surname can also be locational from the town of Kern in Germany. If Irish and possibly Cornish, the derivation is from the pre 10th century Gaelic personal name "Ceirin" which translates as "The little black one"...
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