The Polish surname of MATEJKA was a baptismal name 'the son of Mathew'. The name was found in medieval registers throughout Europe and means 'gracious gift of Jehovah'. It was an exceedingly popular font name during the 11th and 12th Centuries. This given name was of biblical origin, ultimately from the Hebrew male font name MATITYAHU, recorded in the Greek New Testament in the form MATTHIAS. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MATHEW, MATHEY, MATHIE, MATHYS, MATEO, MATAS, MATTASER and MATESSIAN, to name but a few. Corvinus I MATTHIAS (1443-1490) was the king of Hungary, the second son of Janos Hunyady. He was elected in 1458, but it cost him six years' hard struggle against Turks, Bohemians, and the emperor Frederick III, before he could have himself crowned. His conquests were facilitated by the creation of a standing army and reform of the fiscal system, although his heavy taxation was unpopular. He coded the laws, patronized the arts, and founded a magnificent library, the 'Bibliotheca Corvina'. A notable member of the name was Jan Alois MATEJKO (1838-93) the Polish painter, born in Cracow. He is noted for his scenes from Polish history. MATTHIAS (1557-1619) was the Holy Roman Emperor, the third son of Emperor Maximilian II. He was a tolerant man in religious matters, and favoured a policy of moderation. The earliest Polish surnames were patronymic. The personal names from which they were derived were mainly Slavonic, but as the Middle Ages progressed, traditional Slavic given names, began to give way to saint's names, mainly of Latin origin. Surnames derived from Slavonic personal names are of early origin, and tend to be borne by aristocratic families. Many Polish people acquired their surnames by reason of former residence in a town or village. There are nearly 600 families bearing the arms of a horseshoe enclosing a cross. Some names were changed by immigrants whilst on the boat heading for America and Australia. These transformations were usually to names thought by the immigrants to be more respected in their native land than the one he bore. Many Poles added 'ski' to their names to attain a higher social status since such names were accorded more respect from people of Polish extraction. Thus a larger proportion of Polish names carried this termination in America and Australia than in Poland.
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