This very unusual surname, recorded in Church Registers of central and south eastern Europe, is ultimately believed to be a patronymic of Foro, itself a hypocoristic variant either of "Foris" (Forjan), an ancient personal name no longer in use, or of the medieval name "Florian", ultimately from the Latin "Florianus", flowering, blossoming. The latter was borne by a 3rd Century saint who became patron of Upper Austria, and who is widely evoked as a protector from the danger of fires. Surnames derived from given names are the oldest and most pervasive surname types, and in vernacular naming traditions (as distinct from religious), names were originally composed of vocabulary elements of the local language, and no doubt bestowed for their auspicious connotations. The surname is recorded as Forre, Forri and Fora in Church Registers of Germany and the Netherlands, and as Foro in Hungary, Yugoslavia and Italy. Recordings include: Forri (Deutsch-Reformierte-Kirche, Ostpreussen, Germany, 1719), and Fora (Westpreussen, Germany, 1751). On January 4th 1857, Ferdinandus Mathias, son of Antonius Foro, was christened at Luda, Heves, Hungary, and on March 21st 1939, the birth of Josip Foro was registered at Trenkovo, Hrvatska, Yugoslavia. A Coat of Arms granted to the Foro family of Italy depicts a black cross with a silver star, a gold lion holding a sword, and a gold crowned snake, against a shield divided respectively, silver, blue and red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Maria Barbara Forre, which was dated August 23rd 1708, marriage to Johann Martin Neufang, at Steinbach, Rheinland, Germany, during the reign of Joseph 1, Habsburg Emperor, 1705 - 1711. 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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