This is an important European surname, although one of biblical origins. Originally only recorded as a Christian surname, it is one of a major group of such originally Hebrew names which include Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Thomas, Michael and many, many, more, which today form the basis of the surnames lists of the Western hemisphere. These names are known as Crusader surnames. They are Jewish in origin, but were not Jewish when applied in Europe. They were originally introduced into their respective countries and in their individual spellings by returning knights and pilgrims who served on the famous 'Crusades' during the Christian Revival period in the 11th and 12th century. These warriors spent their time trying, without success, to wrest the Holy Land from the hands of the Muslim. At the end of the crusade, and on their return to their homelands, they would give these baptismal names to their children in honour of the fathers exploits. In time these names became surnames. In their multitudious spellings, there are for instance over twelve hundred spellings of the name John, and some one hundred and twenty of this name of which Lazar, meaning 'God may help him' is regarded as the base spelling. These spellings range freom Lazar, Lazarus, and Lazerus, to patronymics such as Lazarson, Lazarin and the Russian Lazarev.
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