This Baltic surname has two possible origins. It is found in a wide variety of spellings such as Meless, Melesh(es), Melches, Malesk(e), and Melisek, and derives either from the German-Danish "melchior", itself a derivative of the Hebrew "melech" and translating as "king of light", or it is a development of the Finno-Russian "melnik", a job descriptive metonymic for "a miller", from the Slavonic "melit", to grind. Baltic-Russian names are almost exclusively patronymic with endings which range from "ov" and "ev" to "tz", "ss", or the Polish "ski" or "ska". A problem with all surnames from the region is the lack of early recordings, owing to the continual strife over the centuries and the shifting of national boundaries. Where records do exist, they are usually fragmentary and inaccurate, furthermore on entry into their "new" country, transposition often occurs. Recorded examples include Tobias Melech, christened at Brandenburg on August 27th 1598, and Johann Daniel Malesk, who married Beate Weigert at Kischmin, Posnia, on August 28th 1831. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Fida Meless, which was dated October 29th 1548, marriage to Jacob Hoegger, at St. Gallen, Germany, during the reign of Charles V, "Holy Roman Emperor", 1519 - 1558. 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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