This long-established surname is of Italian origin, and is a patronymic form of the male given name "Michele", itself coming from the Hebrew "Micha-el", "Who is like God?", the war-cry of the Archangel who led the heavenly hosts in the great battle described in the twelfth chapter of Revelation. In Christian tradition, Michael was regarded as the conqueror of Satan, and the given name was correspondingly popular throughout Europe, especially in knightly and military families. Surnames derived from male (and female) given names are the most widespread surname type in Italy, and patronymic forms are expressed by the preposition "di, de, d'", of, for example, Giovanni de Michele d'Alberto, Giovanni, son of Michele, grandson of Alberto. Frequently, the preposition is dropped and De Michele, Di Michele also appears in Italian Church Registers as: Michele, Miceli and Michelini. The "-i" at the end of a surname is characteristic of northern Italy, identifying the bearer as being "one of" or "belonging to" the head of a certain family, in this case, Michele. On October 7th 1618, Marco, son of Giovanangelo De Michele, was christened at San Michele Degli Scalzi, Pisa. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a shield divided quarterly with a gold cornet in the first azure quarter, and two gold crowned lions affronte in the fourth azure quarter. The second and third are divided per barry of six azure and silver with twenty-one roundels counterchanged in the third quarter. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Genoveffa Miceli, which was dated April 22nd 1543, a christening witness at Trapani, Trapani, Italy, during the reign of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, 1519 - 1558. 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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