Recorded in over seven hundred spellings and found throughout Europe, this is a Crusader surname, of Greek origins. Deriving from the word 'petros' meaning 'rock,' it is claimed to have provided the world with the greatest number of both given names and the later medieval surnames. In their different spellings ranging from Peter, Pieter, and Pierre, to patronymics Peterson, Peters, Peres, Perez, Peers, and the Armenian Bedrosian, and to diminutives such as Poschel, Piechniczek, Piotrek, Pedreschi, Petrenko, and Pietrusska, at least one form appears as a popular surname in every European country. Christ chose his disciple Peter to be 'the rock' on which the church was to be founded, and following the famous twelve 'crusades' of the early medieval period, when various kings sought to free the Holy Land from the Muslims the name spread rapidly replacing the original 'local' names. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic registers in both Europe and the Americas include Luke Petre of London, England, in 1282, William Petres of Somerset, England, in 1327, Andres Guillen Perez, at Aguaron, Zaragoza, Spain, on December 7th 1565. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the word, is that of Ralph Peter. This was dated 1195, in the pipe rolls of the county of Hertford, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England, known as 'Lion-heart', 1189 - 1199.
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