This interesting surname is of medieval French origin, and has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Massot may be an aphaeretic form of the male given names "Thomasset, Thomassot", diminutives of the biblical name Thomas, itself coming from an Aramaic word meaning "Twin". This name was borne by one of the twelve disciples, best known for his scepticism about Christ's resurrection, and also by the 12th Century St. Thomas Becket, and the 13th Century St. Thomas d'Aquin, which helped to spread its popularity in Europe. Aphaeretic forms of biblical names, showing the omission of an initial syllable, are common in most European languages, and consequently gave rise to a wide variety of surnames. The second possibility is that Massot means "petit maillet", ultimately from the Old French "maillet", wooden hammer, and used here as a nickname in the sense "persistent, stubborn". The creation of surnames from nicknames was a widespread practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. On January 20th 1620, Dieudonne Massot and Anne le Galland were married at Dieulouard, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. A Coat of Arms granted to the Massot family is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General", and depicts on a gold shield, a lion rampant proper bearing over the dexter should a club. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicolas Massot, which was dated March 26th 1581, witness at a christening, at Angers, Maine-et-Loire, France, during the reign of King Henry 111 of the House of Valois, 1574 - 1589. 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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