Recorded in many forms including Marguerite, Margueritte, Margeride, Magaride, Margalide, Margerit, Marguerie (France), Margery and Margary (English), Margarit (Catalan), Margi, Margotti, and Margiotta (Italian), this is a surname which is generally accepted as being of Roman (Latin) origins. It derives from the the word "margarita" meaning pearl, and as such was not surprisingly one of the earliest recorded female personal names. It is said that the Romans themselves had "borrowed" the name from the conquered Greeks, and that they in turn had previously borrowed it from the early Persians, which if true simply goes to show that almost nothing is ever wholly new! The name received a boost in popularity from the time of the Crusades in the 12th century, when succesive waves of expeditions were sent out from Europe to attempt to wrest the Holy Land from the hands of the Muslim. All were unsuccessful, but a by product was that returning warriors gave their subsequent children biblical names in honour of the father's pilgrimage. As this name had in earlier times been that carried by several martyrd saints, it was particularly popular, and has remained so ever since, both as a personal name and a medieval surname.
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