Recorded in many spellings including: Laffin, Laffan, Lavin, Lavine, Lavins, Lavan, Laven, Lavens and La Vigne, this is a surname of either Irish or French orgins. If Irish it is a form of the ancient pre 10th century Gaelic O'Laimhin, which translates as 'the descendant of the son of the prince', although as to who the prince was is unclear. In the years before the Norman-English invasion of Ireland in 1170, there were as many as nine kings of Ireland, and no doubt at least an equal number of princes. The clan hails from the region of County Roscommon. If French, the name is occupational and residential, describing the ownership of a vineyard, the name being prevalent in those areas associated with wine such as the Gironde and Loire. In England, those people of French descent, are from Huguenot protestant stock, who fled to escape the persecution by the catholic kings of France, particularly King Louis X1V (1643 - 1714). Examples of the early surname recordings include: Frances Lavin, the daughter of Daniel Lavin, christened at the church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on December 7th 1683, Catherine La Vigne, christened at Threadneedle Street Huguenot church, city of London, on January 4th 1691, and William Lavins, who sailed from Belfast to New York on the ship "Jane of Liverpool" on May 29th 1846. He was one of the early refugees from the infamous Irish Potato Famine of 1846 - 1846.
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