The surname of OCHSNER was an Italian and Rumanian nickname for a one-eyed man or for someone with some other defect of the eyes, such as squinting. The name is a derivative of the word OCHI (eye), and is applied to a one-eyed monster in Rumanian folk-tales. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form OCULUS. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The name has numerous variant spellings which include OCCHI, OEUILLET, LEUILLOT, OCHIELLO, OCCILLO, OCCHINO, OCCHIUTO, OCCHIUTI, OCHINO and OCCHIONI. A notable member of the name was Bernardino OCHINO (1487-1564) the Italian Protestant reformer, born in Siena. He joined the Franciscans, but in 1534 changed to the Capuchins, becoming vice-general of the order after four years. In 1542 he was summoned to Rome to answer for evangelical tendencies, but fled to Geneva. In 1542 he became preacher to the Italians in Augsburg. He was invited to England, where he was pastor to the Italian exiles and a prebend in Canterbury. 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.
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