Recorded in several spellings including Mora, Morales, Mourier and Morais, this is a Spanish and Portuguese surname, of ancient Roman (Latin) origins. It derives from the word 'mora' meaning 'the blackberry', and was originally occupational for a person who farmed these fruits in ancient times. The name is also habitational and may well derive in many instances from living at one of the many places on the Iberian Peninsula called 'Mora'. Habitational surnames were given to people after they left their original homesteads and moved to a new place. The easiest form of identification for their new neighbours was to call them by the name of their former village. In this case we have example of recordings going back to the 16th century, and these include Perez de Morales, who married Elvira Garcia at Alhendin, province of Granada, Spain, on November 12th 1577. In California Jose Dios Morales married Maria de la Trinidad Cota, at San Gabriel, on February 12th 1827, and in Mexico Claudio Pedro Mora was christened at St Luis Obispal, Districto Federal, on July 1st 1865. The blazon of the coat of arms is quarterly, one and four, a green tree on a gold field, two and three, a barry of six, silver and black. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anthoni Mora, which was dated January 21st 1551, born at Santa Maria Mantaro, Barcelona, Spain, during the reign of King Charles 1st of Spain, Emperor of Mexico, 1516 - 1556. 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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