Last name: Dorrance

This interesting name is of French origin, and was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066 as a personal name, as for example, "Durandus" (1066 Hampshire). The derivation is from the Old French "Durant", meaning enduring, itself from the Latin "durare", and as a personal name it was fairly frequently used in the Middle Ages, with the meaning "steadfast". However, Durrant, and its other variant forms Durant, Durrand, Durran, Durrans, Durrance, Duran, Durant, Docan, Docant, Dorrins and Dorant, was also a nickname surname given to someone who was strong willed. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. The following examples illustrate the name development as a given name: Robertus filuis (son of) Durnad (1115); Durant Stabularius, Doraunt de Moreby (1312); John Durant (1222, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Surrey); and Luke Durrant, who was christened on April 1st 1541, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Durand, which was dated 1196, in the "Memoranda Rolls of Westmoreland", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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