This German surname of FRECH was a nickname meaning 'eager, bold and brave'. The name was derived from the Old German word FREH, and is also spelt FRECHETTE, FRECHE, FRECKE and FRECKMAN. It was also a baptismal name meaning the son of Frederick. The name was borne by a canonized 9th century bishop of Utrecht, and was a hereditary name among the Hohrnstaufen ruling family; hence its popularity in central Europe. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. A notable member of the name was Louis Honore FRECHETTE (1839-1908) 'Canadian laureate' born in Levis, Quebec. He was called to the bar, and elected to the Dominion parliament in 1874. His published prose works and plays, and his poems 'Mes Loisirs' (1863) 'La Voix d'un Exile' (1867) and others, were 'crowned' by the French Academy.
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