Recorded in many forms including Le Noire, Le Noir, Lenoir, Lenoire, Noir, Noire, and the diminutives Noirel, and Noiret, this is an ancient French surname. It means literally dark or black, and has sveral possible origins, all nicknames. The first was as an ethnic nickname by a Northern Frenchman to describe somebody of swarthy appearance, who was probably from the south of France, or Spain, Italy or even North Africa. Secondly it may have been a nickname for a person who habitually wore dark clothing perhaps as some form of uniform, and thirdly it may have described a night worker, or at least somebody who was associated with the night.It is probable that there as many possible explanations as there are spelling s of the name. That there are over a dozen coats of arms granted to this surname would indicate its importance and standing in past times,.and most in some form or another, show a negroes head as part of the blazon. This is what is known as a canting, where the name and the blazon follow the same concept, however it is highly unlikely that the original nameholders were black skinned. The surname is widely recorded in France, and early examples from surviving registers include Didier Lenoire at Cirey-sur-Salines, Meurther et Moselle, on June 15th 1676, Louis Noir, who was christened at St Soril en Valloire, Drome, on June 1st 1702, and Marie Madeline Lenoir who married Francois Choquet at Amiens, Somme, on June 19th 1725.
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