The manner of writing of the surname changed in the course of the time. Durhenn, du Rhin, Durhin, Durin, du Rhein, Durhein, Thürein up to Durein are known. Today Durein is a very rare name in Germany. In the phone books of Germany few connections appear only in three areas of Germany.
The name origin could really be from “du Rhin”, so “from the Rhine”. This coincides with the hint that some Dureins were most probably fisher who used the Rhine as a hunting area. Also in France the name is to be found isolated, primarily in the Alsatian area.
In “Verklaerend Woordenboek van de Familienamen in Belgie en Noord-Frankrijk” of Dr. Frans Debrabandere the following is mentioned to the name Durin and Durein: Epithets, abbreviation for a major key (= hard, strictly), 13th century: Jehans Durins, county Artesië (Northern France).
“Dictionaire étymologique des noms de famille et prénoms de france” of Albert Dauzat speaks of Durin as a surname, the origin would be the department Pas de Calais within which also the county Artesië is. Therefore, “du rin” is an expression for a “region at a brook” or for a “house near a brook”. In the South of France it would be an abbreviation for a major key (= hard).
An origin of the French huguenot surname Durand seems impossible.
In the Palatinate the name Durein is to be read in the church register Bellheim for the first time. There is written that the shoemaker’s master Johann Jacob Durhin has married on the 17th of November, 1725 his wife Johanna Margaretha Susanna Sauer in Germersheim. This is also the first appearance of a Dureins in the Palatinate.
The married couple settled down in Bellheim and got at least 10 children according to church register. The putatively first-born Eberhard Wolfgang Durein was also born in Bellheim on the 15th of December, 1726. Presumably after the birth of her latest son the Dureins moved after 1750 once again, this time in the neighbouring Hayna. There Johann Jacob Durhin died in 1779, his wife also in 1784, both with 78 years.
The bigger part of the children of Eberhard Wolfgang Durein emigrated to America. Most other children and children’s children of Johann Jacob Durhin and his wife remained in the Palatinate and settled in Bellheim and surroundings as well as in Lingenfeld and Mechtersheim.
Palatinate was nearly completely wasted in the course of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). Karl I Ludwig, elector of the Kurpfalz of 1648 up to his death in 1680, was well liked , because after the Thirty Years’ War he carried out a lot for the reconstruction of the Kurpfalz and for its economic support. To compensate the strong decline of the population, the elector sent messengers in the neighbouring countries Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Tyrol as well as in Switzerland and lured with property and tax freedom into the Kurpfalz. This action achieved success as from suitable documents is delivered.
Johann Jacob Durhin was born most probably on the 3rd of August, 1700 in Beeden on the Saar (today a part of Homburg). His godfathers were Jean Jacob Adolf to Beeden and Vernique Carlé (father Jacob Carlé is to Beeden). Possibly he is also followed the exclamation of Karl I Ludwig. However, possibly it has other reasons why a shoemaker leaves his native country to get to know his wife in the distant Germersheim and to settle down in Bellheim.
Johann Jacob will still provide with the name “Durhin” in the church register of Homburg, in the church register of Bellheim he is mentioned “du Rhein”. His children were already shortened to the names “Durein” or “Thürein”.
A certain Ludwig Dhurhenn is called in 1542 for the first time in Saarbrucken. It is not finally proved that Ludwig Dhurhenn is a forefather of the Dureins. However, Johann Jacob Durhin should really come from Beeden. From etymological view there would be strong trends towards a connection with Dhurhenn.
Therefore, the assumption to the origin of Durhenn/du Rhin/Durein is Flanders or France (Metz and the today’s department Pas de Calais). But also the Alsatian area is not excluded. In this case the assumption that Johannes Jacob Durhin came from Beeden in Saarland would be presumably weakened.