This surname of DANA was an English and French name, meaning 'one who came from Denmark'. It was also a baptismal name 'the son of Daniel'. It was a popular 13th century font name. The major factor influencing the popularity of the given name was undoubtedly the dramatic story in the Book of Daniel, recounting the prophet's steadfast adherence to his religious faith. The name was also borne by a 2nd century Christian martyr and by a 9th century hermit, the legend of whose life was popular among Christians during the Middle Ages, and these had a minor additional influence on the adoption of the Christian name. The name is also spelt DANAE. In Greek legend it was the name of the daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos. He imprisoned her because an oracle said that he would be killed by her child; Zeus visited her, however, and she gave birth to Perseus. Acrisius cast mother and son out to sea, but Polydectes, king of Seriphis, rescued them. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. 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.
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