This French, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, Czech, Polish, Russian, German and English surname was originally from the Middle English given name MICHAEL. This is ultimately from the Hebrew MICHA-EL 'Who is like God?', a name borne by various minor biblical characters as well as by an archangel, the protector of Israel (Dan. 10:13). In Christian tradition, MICHAEL was regarded as the warrior archangel, conqueror of Satan, and the given name was correspondingly popular throughout Europe, especially in knightly and military families. The name has numerous variants which include MIKHELSON, MICHEL, MICHEAU, MIGUEL, MICHAL, CHONET, CHONILLON, MICHIELETTI, MICHALKE, MICHELK, MIKO, MICHALEC and CHELAZZI, to name but a few. 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. Iosif MIKHELSON, a descendant of a noble family, departed from England for Denmark and then in 1680 was a servitor in Sweden as an Adjutant to King Charles XI. His son, Ivan MIKHELSON, also served as a Captain under Charles XII, and he was killed during the time of the Battle of Poltava. His children, Ivan and Nikolai MIKHELSON, remained in Russia as subjects, and they, as well are their descendants served the Russian Throne in distinguished positions and were granted villaged by the Tsars, as well as other honours and tokens of the Monarch's favour.
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