This originally English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish name MORETZ was originally derived from an Old French personal name introduced to Britain by the Normans in the form MAURICE, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form MAURITIUS. The name was borne by several minor early Christian saints, including a 3rd-century martyr. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MORRIS, MORRISS, MAURICE, MAURIGI, MAURICIO, MEURIS and RISSE. 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. A noteworthy person of the name was Karl Philipp MORITZ (1756-93) the German writer, born in Hamelyn. He was in turn a hat-maker's apprentice, actor, teacher and professor. Self-educated he travelled in England and Italy, and wrote 'Reisen eines Deutschen in England' (1783). He wrote 'Versuch einer deutschen Prosodie' in 1786, which he dedicated to Frederick II, The Great. MORRIS was the name of an extensive and powerful family in North America, who played a leading part in the emergence of the nation. They were descended from Richard Morris (died 1672) who had fought in Cromwell's army and then became a merchant in Barbados. His son (1671-1746) established 'the manor' of Morrisania in New York State.
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