The surname of GENDRON was a French nickname for a son-in-law. The name was derived from the Old French word GENRE, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form GENER. The name was often given with slightly mocking intent, to someone who had bettered his life by marrying the daughter of a rich or influential person. 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. The name is also spelt LE GENDRE, GEINDRE, GENRE, GENDROT, GENDRIN and GENDRY. A notable member of the name was Adrien-Marie LEGENDRE (1752-1833) the French mathematician, born in Paris. He studied at the College Mazarin, became professor of mathematics at the Ecole Militare, and a member of the Academie des Sciences in 1783. In 1787 he was appointed one of the commissioners to relate the Paris and Greenwhich meridians by triangulation. 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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