Recorded in an amazing range of spellings from the English Laurence and Laurens, to the French Lorent, Laurans, and Laurant, the Italian Lorens, Lorenz, Renzi, and even Nenzi, the Spanish Lorenzo and Lorente, the Danish Lauritsen and Lauritzen, the German Lenz and Frentz, the Polish Wawrzyniec, the Hungarian Lorincz, and many more including diminutives and patronymics, in every European country. The origination however is Roman, from the ancient period before Christianity. It derives from the male given name "Laurentius", which means 'the man from (the Italian city of) Laurentium", otherwise known as the 'city of laurels'. The laurel as a symbol of victory was probably the principal reason for the popularity of the name, although it is claimed that among Christians it became a favourite name through St. Laurence, the martyrd Archdeacon of Rome, in the mid 3rd Century. There is only one example of the name in the English Domesday Book of 1086, however, a century later and throughout Europe, the name became very popular, giving rise to the recognizable modern surnames of today. Early examples of the surname recording include: Magister Laurentius, given as being a cleric, in the episcopal records of the city of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1195, John Lorence of the county of Suffolk, England, in 1268, and Heinrich Lenz of Alzey, Germany, in 1341. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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