Recorded in many forms including Legion, Leghorn (English), Legener, Legnier, Ligonnier, Ligner, Lignier, Lignon, (French), Legonidec (Czechoslovakian), and probably others, this is surname of French or even Italian origins, of which it would seem to have at least three. Firstly it may be locational from the city of Leghorn in Italy. Locational or residential surnames were amongst the earliest to be created and mis-spelt, as the easiest way to identfy a stranger was to call him or her by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best indifferent and local accents very thick, soon lead to the creation of 'sounds like' spellings. A second possible origin is from the pre 7th century Olde Norse and possibly German word 'leggr". This was a word widely used to describe a person with particularly long legs, or perhaps with some peculiarity of the legs. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames, and these included reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics. The third possibility is occupational from the word 'lin' meaning linen, and hence manufacturer of linen. Early examples of the surname recordings include Ann Legion of Colchester in Essex in 1593; Francoise Legnier of Rumigny, Ardennes, France, in 1625, and Antoine Ligner of Fontaney, Cote d'Or, in 1705. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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