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Francis Genealogy and Francis Family History Information

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About the Francis surname

Francis Name Meaning and History 1. English: from the personal name Francis (Old French form Franceis, Latin Franciscus, Italian Francisco). This was originally an ethnic name meaning ‘Frank’ and hence ‘Frenchman’. The personal name owed much of its popularity during the Middle Ages to the fame of St. Francis of Assisi (1181–1226), whose baptismal name was actually Giovanni but who was nicknamed Francisco because his father was absent in France at the time of his birth. As an American family name this has absorbed cognates from several other European languages (for forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988). 2. Jewish (American): an Americanization of one or more like-sounding Jewish surnames, or an adoption of the non-Jewish surname. Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 http://www.ancestry.com/facts/Francis-fa

Francis Surname History This is a name of Roman-Latin origins. It derives from "Franciscus", which was originally both an ethnic name used to describe a "Frank", later to be known as a "Frenchman", and a personal name of the 5th century a.d., which means "a free man". In the latter days of the Roman Empire, the Romans were permanently at war with the Franks. It may be that at this time the name was used as a derogatory term by the Romans, for somebody who claimed to be a free man. Be that as it may the later surname, which dated from the 12th century, became hugely popular world wide, there being over two hundred spellings! These range from the English Francis, the French Francois and Frances, the Spanish and Italian Francisco and Francie, to the diminutives Franzel (Germany), the Italian nickname forms Scotti (!), Ciccolini and Zecchi, to the patronymics Francesconi (Italy), Franssen (Germany), Franson (England), and the Polish Franciskiewicz . The popularity of "Franciscus" it is said, was due in large measure to the fame of St. Francis of Assisi (1187 - 1226), however the name was also associated with the Knight Templars (Crusaders) of the 12th century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Hugo Francus, which was dated 1135, in the register of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire, England, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Francis

Remember that surname etymologies are generic and only give the first recorded origins for surnames. Also, surnames can have more than one origin whereas any given ancestor can only have one origin. The only way to learn the origin of a particular surname is to research your ancestors of that name using records and sound genealogy practices.