This most interesting surname derives from two possible origins. Firstly, it may have originated from a French medieval personal name, "Florence", used by both sexes, which ultimately derives from the Latin personal name "Florentius" (masculine) and "Florentia" (feminine), a derivative of "florens", blooming, to flourish. Both of these early names were borne by several early Christian martyrs, but in the Middle Ages the masculine name was far more popular. Secondly, the name may have been a nickname for someone who came from Florence in Italy, which got its name from the Latin personal name "Florentia", as above. The personal name "Florentius" is mentioned in 1130, in Staffordshire (in "Sir Christopher Hatton's Book of Seals"), and "Florentia" is recorded in 1207, in the Curia Rolls of Surrey. Early examples of the surname include Richard Florenz (1220, Oxford); and Gilbert Florence (1250, Suffolk), which derive from the personal name. The name derived from the locational source first appears in the early 14th Century (see below). Thomas Florentin was christened on August 28th 1630 at Gerbeviller, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France; George Florentine was christened on January 12th 1715 at Thionville, Moselle; and Louisa, daughter of Elizabeth Florentine, was born on October 15th 1859, at Shoreditch, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Skelmynius de Florentia, which was dated 1334, in the "Register of the Freemen of the City of York", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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