This interesting and long-established surname, widely recorded in Church Registers of Germany, Italy and France, derives from the medieval male given name "Martini", itself a diminutive of "Martin" (Latin "Martinus", a derivative of "Mars", genitive "Martis", the Roman god of fertility and war, whose name may derive ultimately from a root, "mar", gleam). This name was borne by a famous 4th Century saint who became Bishop of Tours in France, and consequently, Martin and its derivative became extremely popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Early examples of the name from Germany include: Chuonrad filius Martini zu Konstanz (1200), and Ruodolfus Martinus ab Dorf in Zurich (1250). Recordings of the surname from European Church Registers include: the birth of Filippo, son of Giovanni Martini and Elisabetta Merighi, at Lecco, Como, Italy, on June 22nd 1557, and the christening of Maria, daughter of Thomas Martinie and Charlotte Barton, at Cond-sur-L'Escaut, Nord, France, on February 24th 1647. The marriage of Nicolaus Martini to Anna Maria Henegen took place at Liersberg, Rheinland, Germany, on November 19th 1657. A Coat of Arms granted to the Martini family of Germany is recorded heraldically in Riestap's "Armorial General", and is a black shield with a panther rampant proper holding between the paws a gold fleur-de-lis, supported by a green terrasse, and surmounted by a red fesse charged with three silver roses. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Berchtoldus Martini filius auf der Reichenau, which was dated 1165, in "Medieval Records of Germany", during the reign of Frederick 1 Barbarossa, 1152 - 1190. 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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