Last name: Sorensen
This interesting name is of Scandinavian origin, specifically Danish and Norwegian, and is one of the patronymic forms from the personal name "Soren, Sohren". The given name is ultimately derived from the Latin "Severinus", a variant form of "Severus", from the vocabulary word meaning "harsh, austere". Severin(us) was the name borne by several early Christian saints, and became a popular personal name in most European countries, subsequently generating a wide variety of surnames. Examples include: Severin and S(e)urin (France); Severino (Italy); Severn (England); Seffrin(g) and Severing (Germany); and Sewerin (Sweden). However, although the practice of adopting surnames spread to Denmark and thence to Norway from North Germany during the late Middle Ages, until the 19th Century they were neither firmly fixed nor universal. They were almost invariably patronymic, and so not true hereditary surnames: the son of Soren Andersen would be christened, perhaps, Jan, and his surname would be Sorensen; his own son would take Jansen as his surname. It can thus be seen that Scandinavian surnames do not, generally speaking, have early fixed examples. In Norway, the marriage of Niels Sorensen and Anna Tonnesdatter was recorded in Bergen, on October 31st 1734. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Birgithe Sorensen, which was dated 1613, born in Karstenskov, Hellum, Hjorring, Denmark, during the reign of King Christian 1V of Denmark, 1588 - 1648. 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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