This French and Italian surname of FLOURNOY was a locational name for a dweller at the place of the flowers. The name is also spelt FLOWER, FLOWERS, FLORA, FIORELLO, FIORI, FIORILLO, FIORINO, FIORITO, FIORAVANTI and FIORELLI. The word flower was a conventional term of endearment in medieval romantic poetry, and as early as the 13th century it is also regularly found as a female given name. It was originally from the Latin personal name of FLORUS, borne by a saint active in the Auvergne during the 4th or 5th centuries, and the name FLORA was borne by a 9th century Spanish martyr. The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy. A notable member of the name was Giuseppe FIORELLI (1823-96) the Italian archaeologist, born in Naples, whose excavations at Pompeii helped preserve the ancient city. As professor of Archaeology at Naples University and director of excavations (1860-75) he dug for the first time layer by layer and on a large scale so that completed buildings and blocks of the city could be explored and displayed. He was the Director of the National Museum at Naples from 1863, and was director general of Italian Antiquties and Fine Arts from 1875 until 1896. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name.
In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.
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