Recorded in several spelling forms including Frank, Franks, Frankes, Frankis, Frankish, Frankiss, and Franckeiss, and the unusual West Country dialectals Froncke, Fronke, Fronkes, Frounks, and Frunks, this is an English surname. Introduced by the Normans at the Conquest of 1066, it was nationalistic, and as such described a "Frank". These people were originally members of a member of a German tribe who inhabited the lands around the River Rhine in Roman times. Under their leader Clovis 1st, and later the famous Charlemagne, the Franks established a substantial empire in central Europe, and this later formed the basis of the later Holy Roman Empire which included most of Germany, Austria, and Slovakia, and survived in truncated form until 1815. The name is of uncertain ultimate etymology. It may be akin to a word meaning "javelin", of which the Olde English pre 7th Century form is "franca". Early examples of the name recording include Franco and Francus listed in the English Domesday Book of 1086, although the surname is not recorded until the early 13th Century (see below). Walter le Franc is noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Cumberland in the year 1221, Richard Frankis in the Tax Rolls of Yorkshire in 1297, and Henry Frankissh in the register of the abbey of Calverley, near Leeds, in 1316. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Ricardus Franc. This was dated 1201, in the Curia Regis rolls of the county of Essex, during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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