Recorded in over two hundred and fifty different surname spellings ranging from Mathieu of France to Macieiczyk of Poland, this is an ancient surname. Recorded in every part of Christendom, its popularity throughout Europe, first as a baptismal name and then later as a surname, dates from the 11th century. At that time the Crusaders, otherwise known as the Knights Templar, returning from expeditions to free the Holy Land from the Muslims gave this name to their sons in commemoration of the fathers 'pilgrimage'. The derivation is from the Hebrew male given name "Mattathiah" meaning "a gift of the Lord". It is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of England in 1086 as 'Matthaeus' and in the French spelling of 'Mathieu'. Neither of these recordings are surnames, htey hardly existed at the time, but were names of land owning priests. Early examples of the surname recordings include Heinrich Matthaus of Uberlingen, Germany, in 1382, John Mathows of Whitby, England, in 1395, the patronymic Hugh Mathewman in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire, England in 1379, and Clewi Mathisen of Freiburg, Germany, in the year 1475. Samuell Matthews was one of the earliest settlers in the New World of America. He is listed as 'living at the plantation by James Cittie' in the colony of Virginia, in February 1623. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan Mathew. This was dated 1260, in the Assize Rolls of Cambridge, England during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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