This French surname of DORIA was a nickname from the Old French word DORE meaning 'golden'. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form DEAURARE, from AURUM meaning gold, denoting either a goldsmith or someone with bright golden hair. The name has numerous variant spellings which include DORAT, DAURAT, DOREEM DOREY, DORADO and DOURADO. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. A notable member of the name was Andrea DORIA (1466-1560) the Geneose commander and statesman, born in Oneglia of an ancient princely house. After serving under various Italian princes, he returned to Genoa in 1501. In 1513 he received command of the Genoese fleet, and in 1519 defeated the Turkish corsairs of Pianosa. Eventually he was given the order of the Golden Fleece and the princeship of Malfi. 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. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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