The Roman word 'Valens' has been used both as a locational name as in the Spanish city of Valencia, and as a pre medieval baptismal name such as Valente or Valentin. In all cases the meaning is the same of healthy and vigourous. Presumably the Roman legions of the 1st century a.d. must have been pleased with their health, to call the future city with such an evocative name. Perhaps not surprisingly there are estimated to be at least forty surname spellings which have developed from 'valens'. These include Valente, Valentius, Valentino (Italian), Valenti (Portuguese and Spanish), Vallentin (French), Valentine (English), Faltin and Foltin (German), Walenta and Walesa (Polish), Balint (Hungarian), Velte (Czech), and many others. In fact there is not a country in Europe which does not have some form of this popular name. It is said that this derives from pre 3rd century saint and martyr Valentinus, whose martyrdom happened on February 14th, which in the old Roman calendar marked the coming of spring. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic church records include Francisco Ros Valencia, who married Murillo de Cuende at Sante Fe, Spain, on January 10th 1588, Sisto Valente, at Castra dei Volsci, Frisinone, Italy, on April 4th 1661, and Samuel Valentino, on August 13th 1906, at San Francisco, USA. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matilda Valentyn, which was dated 1251, in the register of Ramsey Abbey, Huntingdon, England, during the reign of King Henry 111 of England, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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