This French and Spanish surname was a locational name for one who came from CAMACHO in Granada. It was also given as a name for a Spanish person in France. The name is also spelt CAMARJO and CAMARCHO. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries.
In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
A notable member of the name was Maria Anna de CAMARGO (1710-70) the French dancer, born in Brussels. She won European fame for her performances at the Paris Opera, where she made her debut in 1726 in Jean Balon's 'Les Caracteres de la Danse' and is said to have been responsible for the shortening of the traditional ballet skirt which allowed more complicated steps to be seen. She was also one of the first celebrities to lend her name to merchandizing shoes and wigs. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected.
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