Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an early surname. It is generally regarded as locational, and from Franconia, an area in South West Germany. Franconia formed part of the substantial empire known as Gaul, which lay on both sides of the River Rhine in Roman times. The most famous ruler was Charlemagne the Great 742 - 814 and he created an empire later known as the Holy Roman Empire, which ostensibly paid homage to the Pope. This polyglot of usually minor states somehow survived until 1806, when it was abolished by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France. He also captured the Pope, and held him in France for some years. There are known to be over one hundred spelling versions of the name which is found in every European country. These include Frank (English), Franc (French), Franco (Italian & Spanish), Frango, Frangos, (Greek), Frankel (German), Franken (Dutch), etc. The very first recording that survives is in England where in 1273 Simon le Frensche appears in the property rolls of the county of Wiltshire.
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