This is a name of Roman-Latin origins. Deriving from the Roman Franciscus and hugely popular throughout Eurpose from medieval times, it would require several scrolls just to list the derivative surnames, some of whom are shown below. It is claimed that it was used originally both as an ethnic name to describe a Frank, later to be known as a Frenchman, and as a given name for a "free man". In the latter days of the Roman Empire, the Romans were permanently at war, and it has been said that that then it was used as a derogatory term for somebody who claimed to be a free man. This seems at best unlikely, given the wide range of spellings known to exceed two hundred! These include the English Francis, the French Francois, the Spanish and Italian Franchesco and Francisco, to diminutives such as Francello (Italy), Franzel (Germany), and the myriad of Italian nickname forms including Ciotti, Ciotto, Ciccolini, Scotti and Zecchi, as well as patronymics Francesconi (Italy), Franssen (Germany), Franson (England), and the Polish Franciskiewicz . The popularity of the name was originally due in large measure to St. Francis of Assisi (1187 - 1226), however the name was also associated with the Knight Templars (Crusaders) of the 12th century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Hugo Francus, which was dated 1135, in the register of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire, England, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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