Recorded in over seventy spellings forms including Reuben, Ruhben, Rubin and Rubel, to diminutives and patronymics such as Reubbens, Rubenovic, and Rubinivitz, and 'ornamental' compounds such as Rubinfeld (ruby field) and Rubinsztein (ruby stone), this is a surname of pre 7th century Hebrew and/or Germanic origins. There is some confusion with the origin, in that it appears to derive from the given name of biblical times 'Reuven', meaning 'behold my son', but it may equally share roots with the German word 'rubin' meaning the ruby, and a derivative of the Latin 'rubeus' - red.There are few straight lines with names, and this is a good example of confused origins. Like many ostensibly Hebrew or Jewish 'names', it probably owes its original use in Europe to the legendary Christian Crusaders of the 12th century, who set out many times under different European rulers to 'free' the Holy Land from the grip of the infidel. In this self appointed task they were manifestly unsuccessful. Nethertheless it became the fashion for soldiers returning from the Crusades, to name their children after biblical figures, or at least people associated with the early Christian church. Most of these names such as Abraham, Isaac and Joseph as examples, were Hebrew, but they became 'christianized' in their early use as surnames, before in many cases, becoming predominently Jewish again after the 16th century! This particular surname was widely used in Germany, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine, but much more rarely in France, Italy and Britain. The earliest examples of the surname recordings in the world are to be found in surviving German charters and registers of the medieval period, and these include: Richter Rubynus of Brunn in 1240, and Nicolas Rubein of Munchen in 1377.Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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