Recorded in over fifty surname spellings thoughout Europe, including Marie, Maria, and Mary, with diminutives such as Marielle, Mariete, Marini, Maryon, and Marusik, and metronymics Marians, Marriott, Maryson, Mariyushkin and Manyurin, this is a Crusader 12th century surname. It probably derived from the Biblical and Hebrew name Maryam, as its main popularity followed the famous Crusades of the 12th century intended to free the Holy Land from the Muslims. The returning knights and warriors often gave their children names associated with the bible, in commemoration of their efforts, even though all the expeditions were ultimately unsuccessful. The meaning of the name is uncertain, but may have been "wished for", as in a child. There is also a possibility that the name in some cases at least, is of Roman origin and a form of Marius. Again the meaning is uncertain, but may have a relationship to Mars, the god of war. This gives the name at least two of the most contradictory meanings it is possible to have! Whilst the Roman Catholic church has never had any doubt about the truth of Mary being the mother of Jesus, other Christians were less certain, and this was reflected in the spread of the surname. It is quite rare in Protestant countries, reflecting a period around the time of the surname creation, roughly the 12th to the 15th centuries, when the baptismal name was unpopular in some countries. Also being a metronymic, which is to say that the name descended from the mother not the father, has naturally, if unfairly perhaps, reduced the popularity. The first known recording of the name in any spelling anywhere in the world is believed to be that of William Marysone. He was recorded in the Court Rolls of the city of London, England, in 1298.
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