LaTour Genealogical Collection

View category for people with the Papillon surname
Origin: France
Meaning: Butterfly
Variant(s): Papillon, Papillion, Papilon, Papilon, Papillin, Papilin, Parpillon, Pampalon
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From the historical and enchanting region of France emerged a multitude of noble families, including the distinguished Papillon family. Originally, the French people were known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted in France is extremely interesting.

Surnames evolved during the Middle Ages when people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Often they adopted names that were derived from nicknames. Nickname surnames were derived from an eke-name, or added name. They usually reflected the physical characteristics or attributes of the first person that used the name. The name Papillon is a nickname type of surname for a dainty person being derived from the Old French word papilon, which meant butterfly.

The Papillons were Huguenots. Thomas Papillon was Captain of the Guard to Henri IV of France but he sent his family to England in 1588 to avoid persecution as Protestants. His second son David (d. 1659) became an expert on fortification and built Papillon Hall in Lubenham (Leicestershire), an unusual octagonal house constructed according to his own theories. He married as his second wife Anne Marie Calandrini, whose family had fled Italy as Protestants. Thomas (d. 1702) the eldest son of this marriage purchased Acrise Park (Kent). He was a prominent merchant and campaigner for civil and religious freedoms as M.P. for Dover and then for London. His son Philip (d. 1736) was also M.P. for Dover and married Susanne Henshaw as his second wife. Papillon Hall was sold in the mid 18thC. and has since been demolished.

l7th/l8thC. family letters, some from France and from the Calandrinis in Geneva and London. Declaration of loyalty to the Commonwealth 1650. Accounts of Thomas Papillon as a deacon of the French Church in London 1660s. Some papers of George Henshaw, consul at Genoa 1720s. l8thC. culinary, medical and household recipes. Poetry and 17th-19thC. religious books

First found in Maine where they were anciently seated in the seigneurie of Braiteau and were included amongst the aristocracy of that province on the southern borders of Normandy in the north of France. Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were:

Jacques Santiago François Pampalon who settled in Louisiana.