This remarkable surname in its basic form, may well be the first examples of a national surname. Recorded in over seventy known spellings including Roman, Romain, Roma, Romao, Romeo, Romero, Romeril, Romanet, Romilly, Romanski and Romero to give just a few of the 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 also became a description for all Italians! Secondly the religious revival of the Middle Ages and the famous Crusades to free the Holy Land created a major boost for any name associated with centres of Christianity. Rome being the centre of Christianity, the name was even given to people who had been to Rome on a pilgrimage! Early 13th century examples of the surname recording taken from authentic European 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 Spanish America, Jose Innocencio Romero being christened at Mission Santa Clara, California, on January 12th 1776. The first known recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Adam Romanus, which was dated 1207, in the Curia Regis rolls of the county of Surrey, England. This was during the reign of King John of England, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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