This French surname of LAVOY was a nickname for a crafty person. The name was originally from the Old French form AVOISE, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form ADVISATUS. The name is also spelt LAVOISIER. During the 17th century surnames were brought to Britain, North America and southern Africa by French Huguenot exiles. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and in 1572 large numbers of them were massacred in Paris on the orders of Queen Catherine de'Medici. Many of the survivors sought refuge in England and elsewhere. Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was then the trickle of emigration became a flood. Many migrated to England, while others joined groups of Dutch Protestants settling around the Cape of Good Hope. Others sailed across the Atlantic to establish themselves in North America. A notable member of this name was Antoine Laurent LAVOISIER, (l743-l794) French chemist, born in Paris, known as the founder of modern chemistry. To finance his investigations, he accepted in l768 the office of farmer-general of taxes. As director of the government powder mills (l776) he greatly improved gunpowder, its supply and manufacture, and successfully applied chemistry to agriculture. He discovered oxygen, by rightly interpreting Joseph Priestley's facts, its importance in respiration, combustion and as a compound with metals. His 'Traite elementaire de chimie' (l789) was a masterpiece. Politically Liberal, he saw the great necessity for reform in France but was against revolutionary methods. But despite a lifetime of work for the state, inquiring into the problems of taxation (which he helped to reform) hospitals and prisons, he was guillotined as a farmer of taxes.
The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work.
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