Recorded in many forms including Le Franc, Le Frank, Lefrank, Franc, Frank, Franks, Fronks, Frunks, and probably others, this is interesting surname is of Norman-French origins. Introduced into England at or after the famous Conquest of 1066 it was an ethnic name for a "Frank". These were a warlike tribe, and a member of the Germanic people who inhabited the lands around the river Rhine in Roman times. In the 6th Century, under their leader Clovis 1st, the Franks established a substantial empire in what is now France but stretching east into Germany, the basis of the Holy Roman Empire which survived until dismanteled by Napoleon in 1808. Their most famous ruler was the Emperor Charlemagne or Charles the Great, (742 - 814). The name is of uncertain ultimate etymology; but may be akin to a German word meaning "javelin", of which the Olde English pre 7th Century form is "franca". Franco and Francus (without surname) are listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the surname is first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below). Walter le Franc is noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Cumberland (1221). On August 14th 1574, Joane Franks was christened at the Church of Harrow on the Hill, London, and George Frank married Esther Wilson on December 30th 1686 at the Church of St. James', Duke's Place, London. A coat of arms granted associated with the surname has the blazon of a green shield, charged with a gold saltire, the crest being a hawk proper charged with a red torteau. The Motto "Sic vos non vobis" translates as "So you not for yourselves". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ricardus le Franc. This was dated 1201, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Essex, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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