This remarkable surname may well be the first example of a national surname. Recorded in many spellings including Roman, Romain, Roma, Romao, Romeo, and Romero to give some popular forms, it is recorded in almost every European country. In general there are two origins, the first being that the name identifies a former citizen of Rome, but as for most people the only place that they had ever heard of outside their own country was Rome, this surname became a description for all Italians! The religious revival of the Middle Ages coincided with the crusades to 'free' the Holy Land. As a result any name associated with centres of Christianity received a major boost, and in this case the name was even applied to people who had been to Rome on a pilgrimage. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic civil and religious registers include Reginald le Romayn of Lincoln, England, in the year 1275, and Wilhelm Roman of Prague, in the year 1408. Adrian Romeu was recorded in Anso, Huesca, Spain, in 1515, and Christian Romeo at Zaragoza, Spain, on September 6th 1564. The name was also early into California, Jose Innocencio Romero being christened at Mission Santa Clara, on January 12th 1776, whilst Juan Maria Romeo, was born at Santa Barbara on March 14th 1794. The coat of arms has the distinctive blazon of a blue field charged with a knights spur in chief and a lion passant in base, all gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Romanus, which was dated 1207, the kings rolls of the county of Surrey, England, during the reign of King John of England, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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