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Therrien Coat of Arms / Therrien Family Crest

The surname of THERRIEN is a French habitation name from a place in the Massif Central, named from the Gaulic element TURON (height, hill). There seems to have been some connection with the name THIRION, which is derived from a medieval given name of uncertain origin. Both surnames were borne by Huguenot refugees to England in the 17th and 18th centuries. The name is also spelt THOREAU, THOREAUX, THERON and THEROND. 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 Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685.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. Henry David THOREAU (1817-1862) was the American author and naturalist, born at Concord, Massachusetts. He is best known for 'Walden' (or 'Life in the Woods'), written in 1854, which stimulated the back-to-nature movement. His later works are some thirty volumes based on his daily nature walks. His essay 'Civil Disobedience' (1849) advocates peaceful resistance to unjust laws, and was widely influential. 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.

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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