This is a European medieval surname of Crusader, but ultimately biblical origins. Deriving from either of the ancient Hebrew Micha-el meaning "He who is like god", or the Greek Dominic, with the similar meaning of "Like the lord", these were introduced into Europe by returning warriors from the various Crusades to the Holy Land commencing in the 12th century. These continued for several centuries with little success. in that they totally failed to free Jersusalem from the Muslims. During the period of the Christian Revival of the medieval period the surnames became established by the 13th century. In the case of Michael part of this popularity was due to the conviction that the name was originally the war cry of the archangel, in his defeat of Satan! Over two hundred spellings have developed in every Christian county of the western hemisphere, and these spelllings include Michael (England), Michell and Mitchell (Scotland), Miell, Miall, Michel, Micheau, and Micheu (France), Michel, Micheli, Michetti, Michelotti, (Italy), Michal, Miguel, ( Portugal & Spain), Miell and Michal (Poland), Michel (Hungary), with diminutives Michelet, Michelin (France), Misisch and Miscke (Germany), Michalotos (Spain), Michalik and Mielnik (Poland), Michaley (Czech), Miko (Hungary), and patronymics such as Michaelson, Mikkelsen, Mikhalkov, Michaeliewicz, and many, many, more. It was in England that the first recordings are to be found with Michaelis de Areci appearing in the Danelaw Rolls for the city of London, in 1160, although the first surname recording would seem to be in Scotland when Magister Michael appears in the register of Scone Abbey, in 1214. A notable early namebearer was Blaunpayn Michael, a Latin poet who flourished circa 1250, and was traditionally dean of Utrecht, in the Netherlands. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation, and throughout the centuries these have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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