Recorded in the spellings of Baraja, Barajas, and Barajaz, this is a Spanish locational surname, but of Roman (Latin) 1st century a.d. origins. It derives from a place near Madrid, which is now covered by the international airport, although there are other villages in the province of Cuenca of the same name. It is believed that the original word from which the village name developed was 'varalia' meaning 'a fenced area' and probably referring to a farm, but another suggestion which is worthy of consideration is that the development is from the word 'baiae', meaning a watering place. The Spanish Peninsula was occupied by the Romans for over three hundred years, until the collapse of the Empire in the year 409 a.d.. During this long stay many words were introduced which subsequently became hereditary surnames, although in most cases not for another twelve centuries or more. Examples of the surname recording taken from appropriate civil or church records, include Nicholas Barajas, who married Maria Gertrudia Rea at Asuncion, Mexico, on May 25th 1797, and Alvarado Barajaz, christened at San Gabriel, Mexico, on July 25th 1869. The coat of arms, granted in Spain, has the blazon of seven red lions rampant, with a crest of a demi lion. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Santiago Baraja, which was dated July 5th 1788, christened at Bercero, Valladolid, Spain, during the reign of King Charles 1V of Spain and Emperor of Mexico, 1788 - 1808. 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.
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