This surname of NIAS was originally derived from the Latin 'nescius'. The name was brought into England from France, and in the 14th century the name in England acquired the meaning of 'wanton' and in the 15th century it meant 'coy and shy'. The sense 'fastidious' 'precise' appeared only in the 16th century. The Normans had three kinds of names from different sources. First were names their Viking ancestors brought from Norway to France (8th Century). That's why they were Normans (Northmen). Second were names they found in France.The Franks (French) had come from Franconia in Germany and had crossed the Rhine to occupy the Roman Province of Gaul (5th Century) and called it France. They mixed Latin and German to create French, translating old Germanic names into it, ignoring existing Latin and Celtic (pre-Roman) names.The Viking Normans who also ditched their own language (except for the names) adopted French names as well. The third kind of Norman names were religious. They became Christians and the most religious of them used Saints names. The Normans between 1066 and 1170 conquered England, southern Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Sicily and southern Italy.They were followed everywhere by other French families and some Bretons (the pre-Roman Celts left in north-west France). To this day their names are found in Royalty, Politics and Big Business in these countries and in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States which their descendants colonised. During the 17th century surnames were brought to Britain, North America and southern Africa by French Huguenot exiles. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and in 1572 large numbers of them were massacred in Paris on the orders of Queen Catherine de'Medici. Many of the survivors sought refuge in England and elsewhere. Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was then the trickle of emigration became a flood. Many migrated to England, while others joined groups of Dutch Protestants settling around the Cape of Good Hope. Others sailed across the Atlantic to establish themselves in North America.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. Registered in Padoue. (Niasi).
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