This unusual surname has its origins in the male given name Peter, ultimately from the Greek "petros", the masculine form of "petra", rock. The name was extremely popular throughout Christian Europe in the Middle Ages, as it had been bestowed by Christ as a byname on the apostle Simon bar Jonah, to whom Christ said, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church". In the early Middle Ages, Peter was the most frequent given name of non-Germanic origin in Christian Germany, being overtaken in the 14th Century by John and Nicholas. Its continued popularity in (north) westen, central, and south eastern Europe gave rise to a bewildering variety of diminutive and pet forms, including: Petr (Czechoslovakia); Petriz (Yugoslavia); Petrizi (Italy); Petrez, Petriz, Petras (Belgium); and Petrusz, Petrecz (Hungary). On January 16th 1792, Maria Petriz and Joseph Junkik were married at Sevnica, Sloveija, Yugoslavia, and in 1816, the christening of Francesco Petrizi took place at Scanno, L'Aquilia, Italy. The birth of Joseph, son of Janos Petrusz and Anna Szopcsak, was registered at Bacs-Bodrog Megye, Hungary, on May 31st 1893. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henrici Petrez, which was dated July 5th 1661, a christening witness at Seraing, Liege, Belgium, during the reign of Leopold 1 of the House of Austria, 1658 - 1705. 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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