The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. The name is also spelt DELAVIGNE. It was originally a French habitation name from any of the numerous places named with the element VER. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form VERUS (truth), and enjoyed some slight currency in honour of a 4th century bishop of Vienne. The name is also spelt LAVIGNE, VER, VERNE, VERGNE, LAVERGNE and VERNIE. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. A notable member of the name was Jean Francois Casimir DELAVIGNE (1793-1843) the French dramatist, satirist and lyricist, born in Le Havre. He became popular through his 'Messeniennes' (1818), satires upon the Restoration. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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