This uncommon surname is of early medieval French origin, and is a variant of the more familiar Michelet, itself deriving from the male given name "Michel", with the addition of the diminutive suffix "-et". Michel is ultimately from the Hebrew "Micha-el", "Who is like God?", the war cry of the warrior archangel, Michael, regarded in Christian tradition as the conqueror of Satan, which accounted for the enormous popularity of the given name throughout Europe, especially in knightly and military families.Surnames derived from given names are the oldest and most pervasive type, and in religious naming traditions names were usually bestowed in honour of a cult figure. On January 18th 1579, Susanne Michelet was christened at Metz, Haut-Rhin, France, and on March 19th 1795, the birth of Joseph, son of Joseph Michallat and Jeane Lanfrey, was registered at Miribel-Les-Chelles, Isere, France. Some bearers of the name may be of French Huguenot extraction Michellet having been introduced into England by Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country as is evidenced by the following recording: Marie Michellet, christened at the French Huguenot Church, Threadneedle Street, London, on April 28th 1716. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a red St. Michael on a silver shield, and on a red bordure seven silver escallops, in chief two silver crescents, one on either side of an escallop, and in base a tower. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jacques Michelet, which was dated October 14th 1576, a christening witness at Metz, Haut-Rhin, 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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