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About the study
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.
History of the name
In England, the earliest instances of the surname found so far are in parish register indexes on the FamilySearch.org 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 FamilySearch.org 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.