This French surname of PORRO is an occupational name for a grower or seller of leeks. The name was derived from the Old French word POIREAU (leek) and rendered in ancient documents in the Latin form PORRELLUM). The name is also spelt POIREL, POIRAUX, POUREAU, POURIEL, POURREL and PFORR (German). Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. St. Martin de PORRES (1579-1639) whose feast day is the 3rd November, was the South American saint, who spent his entire life in the Dominican Order in Lima, Peru, ministering to the sick and poor. He was also noted for his way with animals. Beatified in 1837, he was canonized in 1962. He is the patron saint of social justice. 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. America was colonized by peoples from all over the world in a very short period of time, and mostly, in the case of French immigrants they have stayed together in Louisiana. Of the early immigrants to America the French have fared the worst in respect of their names, chiefly because of the difficulties experienced by the Americans in pronouncing them correctly. Many have been translated into English names.
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