This surname is usually described as being French, but more accurately should be said to be of Ancient Greek or Roman origins. It derives from the word "baptistes", a derivative of "baptein", a Greek word which translates as - to bathe or dip! The surname can itself be described as being "a play on words", in that it commemorates St John, the Baptist, who baptised people by fully immersing them in water, and thereby purifying their souls. The surname is now recorded in many forms, examples of which include Batisse, Bautiste, Baptiste, Battista, Baptista,Titta, Baptist, Batistelli, Bastistini, Di Batista, and many others. Possibly because of its original association with Southern Europe and the Roman Catholic church, the surname never became popular in the protestant countries of Europe, although often recorded there in small numbers. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from authentic surviving French church registers, most of which were destroyed in the Revolution of 1789 - 1792, include Catharine Bapstin, christened at Illkirch, Bas-Rhin, on April 4th 1783, and Anne Marie Baptiste, christened at Valhey, Meurthe-et-Moselle, on April 16th 1709. The earliest recording is that of Francois Baptiste at the town of Gerbeviller, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, on October 11th 1675. This was during the long reign of King Louis X1V, known as "The Sun King", 1643 - 1715.
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