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Of surnames and coat of arms

Humans are social beings. We certainly need to know our lineage, and our origins. After all, as people we need to belong, to a nation, a community and most definitely, a family history. Needless, to say where without, we are isolated like an inhabited island. Useless, barren and bearing no future. One way of classifying one's lineage is through surnames and coat of arms.

From Wikipedia, 'surnames are names added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases a surname is a family name; the family-name meaning first appeared in 1375. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name". It is also known as a "last name" In some cultures, the surname may be a patronymic or matronymic.

In some cultures, the surname comes first, followed by the given name(s) ; this is the case in Hungary, as well as China and other countries in the Far East. Japanese names are always in this order, although the Japanese commonly will reverse the order of their names for the convenience of Westerners, just as Hungarians do when associating with other Europeans.

Surnames are often influenced by common elements: the name of the person's father or mother, the person's geographical origin, the person's occupation, or a descriptive nickname for the person. When they were created they answered one of the following questions: To whom is this person related? Where is this person from? What does this person do for a living? What is this person's most prominent feature'?

Why bear interest about this?

During my early, active surfing episodes, I found this site about coat of arms. I was trying to trace my Spanish lineage because my great, great grandfather (mom's side) was said to have come from Spain.

On the surname Martinez, I found that it is Spanishin origin and patronymic from the personal name Martin.

"This famous name is a development of the Roman 'Martinus', a personal name derived from 'Mars", the God of war. The spelling here is Spanish, the name in England being normally Martin but also found as the Huguenot Martineau from Poitou, France. Martinez the name is recorded heraldically in Castille, Milan and Sicily.

The Coat of Arms for Castille being, 'A green tree an a gold field, within a border of red with knight spurs in Gold'. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Martinez di Castille which was dated 1580, Madrid, Spain during the reign of King Philip II of Spain, 1528 - 1598.

Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling."

On my father's side, here's what I found out about my grand mom's surname: Fernandez

"This recorded in some twenty different spellings ranging from Ferdinand, Fernandez, Ferandez, and Ferrandiz, to Hernan, Hernando and Hernandez, is of pre=5th century German and later Spanish origin. It derives from a Visigoth tribal personal name, composed of the elements "frith", meaning peace with "nanth", meaning daring or brave. The Vizigoths from Eastern Germany conquered Spain in the 6th century, and as a result many Spanish surnames are of Germanic origin.

In this case the given name as Ferdinand, was introduced into most parts of Europe from the 15th Century, being taken to Austria for instance by the Hapsburg dynasty, among whom it was a hereditary name. It owes its popularity in large measure to King Ferdinand 111 of Castile and Leon (1198 - 1252), who recaptured large areas of Spain from the Moors, and was later canonized.

Early examples of the surname recordings taken from church registers include the christening of Caranjon Fernandez, on December 6th 1534 at Nuestra Senora la Antigua, Valladolid, Spain; and the christening of David Hernandez on March 18th 1745 at St. Anne's Soho, Westminster, London.

The Coat of Arms most associated with the name has the blazon of a red shield charged with two gold battle axes endorsed, and in base a gold crescent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Barabonado Vera Fernandez, which was dated July 1st 1525, born at the city of Granada, Spain, during the reign of King Charles 1 of Spain and Emperor of Mexico, 1516 - 1556.

Again, surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling."

Did I discover anything new about my lineage? Just this:

My forebears are generally of Spanish, Indian and Chinese origins. Both my father and mother have Spanish blood. Additionally, Mama has Indian blood as well, while my Papa has Chinese lineage.

Maybe, I'll find out some more.

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