The surname of MASSING was a Russian, Low German and Dutch baptismal name, a form of Thomas. The name is universal, originally from the popular medieval given name of biblical origin. The name was originally an Aramaic name meaning 'a twin' borne by one of the disciples of Christ, best known for his scepticism about Christ's resurrection (John 20:24-9). This disciple is stated by Eusebius, on no scriptural authority, to have borne the given name Judah. It was one of the most popular christian names. The name was also a topographic name for someone living on the banks of the river MAAS, which flows through Belgium and Holland. It was originally named as the MOSA of apparently Celto-Ligurian origin. The name is also spelt MASSINE, MASSING, MAAS, VERMAAS, MASI, MASO, MASSMANN, MAASCKE, MASIONIS and MAAHS. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. A notable member of the name was Leonide MASSINE (1869-1979) the Russian dancer and choreographer, born in Moscow. Having trained with the Imperial ballet school at St. Petersburg, he became principal dancer at the Ballet Russe. He appeared in ballet films 'The Red Shoes' (1948) and 'The Tales of Hoffman' (1950). Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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