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About the study

The LARN one name study is a C category one that includes references predominantly from the 19C and 18C England. There are also references to LARNs elsewhere in the world, but currently these tend to be from indexes rather than from primary sources.

Variant names

The main variants of the surname LARN are LAAN, LARN(E), LAWN(E) and LORN(E). LAAN was an 18th century spelling for Suffolk and Norfolk families. My family used the variant LARN in early 19C Great Yarmouth and then LAWN from about 1871 onwards in the London area. The deviants (transitory spellings) LOON, LORN and LEARN also appear in the family records. In indexes it can be transcribed as LAM and LAIN. LARN(E)S, could also be another deviant. In Wales, LARN(E) is a variant and deviant of the surname LAUGHARN(E) which is derived from the name TALACHARN (see below).

Name origin

In East Anglia, the surname LARN appears to be very local to the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft area. In Lowestoft, it appears to originate from the surname LAAN. This and the name VERLAAN are Dutch cognates of (akin to) the surname LANE [P Hanks and F Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames]. The parish registers of Lowestoft frequently mention Dutch people. One LARN family (my own) could originate from the surname LAWN (laund' or 'lund'; an open space in a wood, a glade) in Suffolk which has its own origins and is studied as a name in its own right. It seems then that LARN belongs to the topographical class of surnames.

In Wales LARN(E) is a variant of the surname LAUGHARNE. This name is the anglicised version of the Welsh place-name, Talacharn (Carmarthenshire); in Welsh the penultimate syllable is stressed, leading to the weak first syllable being lost, whilst further anglicisation has eliminated the 'ch' sound in the middle - the surname is pronounced LARNE [J Rowlands and S Rowlands, The Surnames of Wales].

LARN(E) occurs in Lancashire and some of those families come from Ireland. In this case, the name could be from the town of LARNE in Northern Ireland. The names LAAN and LAHEN also occur in Ardcarn, in Roscommon, Ireland.

Historical occurrences of the name

In England, the earliest instances of the surname found so far are in parish register indexes on the website. These include Francis LAAN or LANE baptised in 1679 in Totnes, Devon; Frannces LARN baptised 1558 in Little Eastcheap, London; Anne LARNE baptised 1605 in Marton, Cheshire and Margrete LARNES baptised 1593 in Barnham Broom, Norfolk.

The earliest mention (again from the website), found in Europe so far is for the marriage of Isaack van der LAAN to Susannah MICHGIELS in 1627 in Amsterdam, then in Northern Holland. Interestingly both LAAN and MICHGIELS occur in the Lowestoft registers. There is also an entry for a Mari DAVIDSEN baptised in 1634 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The parents were David LAAN and Anni ANDERSDR.

Name frequency

According to the British Surname Atlas (, in 1881 there were 121 people with the surname LARN(E). The highest concentration of people called LARN was 56 per 100,000 in Norfolk. That for LARNE was in Glamorgan were the concentration was 5 per 100,000. There were no instances of the variants LAAN or Van der LAAN. In the 1880 US census there are 28 instances of the surname LARN according the website, but 149 instances of LARNE. Two people had the surname LAAN, one from Ireland and one from Sweden. There were 108 people with the surname Van der LAAN, Vander LAAN or VANDERLAAN in the 1900 US census.

Distribution of the name

In England most records for people with the surname LARN occur in East Anglia. Between 1837 and 1899, the registration district with the highest number of births registered under the surname LARN was Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, with 66 entries. There were also people with the surname LARN in Continental Europe, Ireland, Australasia, and the Americas.