Last name: Dorr

This famous and well recorded surname, also found in the spellings Dorr, Derr, and Dirr, as well as diminutives and patronymics, is the German equivalent to the English 'Dear' and both share the same origins. This was a personal or baptismal name given literally as a form of endearment in that its precise meaning was 'beloved one' or 'bold one'. Several such name forms have come down from the period of the Angles and the Saxon's of the pre 7th century a.d. and these include 'Doerrling', the English surname 'Darling'. The name can also derive from the word 'deor' meaning 'deer' and as such in both countries was a nickname given to one fleet of foot, a fast runner or messenger. The name is well recorded and examples of these recordings include Henchen Doerren, the diminutive form which derives from 'Doerr plus Kin' to given 'Son of Dorr' or possibly 'Little Dorr'. This recording is from Berleburg in the province of Westfalen, and is dated October 24th 1643. Another recording is that of Johan Doers, (a patronymic) christened at Breyell, province of Rheinland on September 22nd 1647, and Andreas Doerr, whose daughter Anna Maria, was christened at Bacharach, Rheinland on November 24th 1650. The Coat of Arms is from Hesse and has the distinctive blazon of three swords splayed on a red field, a chief charged with a rose proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Albert Dorre, which was dated 1381, in the Registers of the city of Lubeck, during the reign of Emperor Wencelas of the German Empire, 1378 - 1400. 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.

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Peter Dorr
Other sources say the surname 'Dorr' is as stated above German. It is known in Germany, Austria, Alsace, Netherlands and Belgium and, of course, in America. It is German for 'dry', as used today in 'Dorrobst' i.e. dried fruit. It is an occupational name, the 'dorer' is the person responsible for keeping the fires going in the drying of the flax grown to make linen. Which meaning is correct? Thanks, Peter.