Recorded in several forms including Saffren, Saffrin, Safron, Saffron, Zaffren (German), Szafran and Szafranski (Polish), Safrany (Hunagarian), and Safranek (Czech), this is a surname of Germanic origins, which is also recorded in the British Isles, although only rarely. Wherever found it was originally either an occupational name for a grower or seller of medicinal herbs, or it was an nickname of endearment for a girl with fair or golden hair. It derives from the pre 7th century Old German word 'safran', meaning a spice which was yellow in colour. Occupational surnames although amongst the first to be created, did not become hereditary until a son or possibly a grandson, followed the father into the same line of business. As a nickname of endearment, these now form probably the largest individual grouping in the sunames list. Early examples of this surname taken freom surviving rolls and charters of German speaking countries in the 14th century include: Joseph Safran of Kastelruth in the year 1334, and Kunzlin Saffran of Kirchheim, in the year 1406.
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