This interesting surname of germanic origin derives from the Medieval male given name Matthew, of biblical origin, ultimately from the Hebrew "Mattathiah" meaning "Gift of God", recorded in the Greek New Testament in the form Matth(a)ias. The symbol of St. Matthew, the evangelist writer of the first Gospel, is an angel in the body of a young man, typifying Christ's humanity. The name was introduced into England by the Normans and is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in the Latin form "Matthaeus" and in the French "Mathieu". One, Matheus Baret was noted in the "Documents relating to the Danelaw", Lincolnshire, dated 1150. The surname is first found recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below). Willelmus Matheu and Agnes Mathewe were recorded in the 1379 "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire". Recordings of the surname from the German church registers include; David, son of Erasmus Matthiae, who was christened in December 1623, at Konigsberg in Nenmark, Brandenburg; and Francis Matthiae married Clara Mergen in Euren, Rheinland on April 27th 1633. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan Mathew, witness, which was dated 1260, Assize Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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