This Italian surname of FAISON was originally from the French given name BONIFACE, rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form BONIFATIUS from BONUM (good) and FATUM (fate, destiny). Bonifatius was the name of the Roman military governor of North Africa in 422-32, who was a friend of Saint Augustine, and the name was also borne by various early Christian saints, notably St. Boniface (c.675-754) who was born in Devon and martyred in Frisland after evangelical work among Germanic tribes. It was also adopted by nine popes. The given name was always more popular in Italy than elsewhere; the original sense 'well fated' remained transparent in Italian so the name was often bestowed there for the sake of the good omen. The name has spread widely in many forms, and variants include Bonifacci, Bonifazio, Fazzio, Fassio, Faas, Faes and Fazzini. The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did.
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