This Spanish and French surname of A LA TORRE was a habitation name from Tours in Eure-et-Loire, northern France, originally named TURONES. It was also a topographic name for someone who lived near a tower, usually a defensive fortification or watchtower. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form TURRUS. The name is also spelt LASTOURS, TOWER, TOURS, TOURNOIS and LETOURS. In the 8th century, Spain fell under the control of the Moors, and this influence, which lasted into the 12th century, has also left its mark on Hispanic surnames. A few names are based directly on Arabic personal names. The majority of Spanish occupational and nickname surnames, however, are based on ordinary Spanish derivatives A notable member of the name was Fernando R. TORRES, born 29th November, 1924. He was a physician, and his appointments included Instructor to the Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, at the University of Minnesota and was the Honorary Consul of Columbia, South America, in Minneapolis. He was a contributor to many professional journals. 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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