This surname of SIX is a French and German given name, originally rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form SIXTUS. The name was borne by various saints and popes in the early centuries of the Christian era, and adopted in their honour. It was a French habitation name for one who came from SIXTE in France. The name is also spelt SIXTUS, SISTO, SISTI, SESTO, SESTI, SIXTA and SIXL. SIXTUS was the name of five popes. The first was beheaded AD125; the second was martyred in 258; the third was pope (432-440) when St. Patrick began his mission in Ireland. Francesco della Rovere SIXTUS IV (1414-84) was pope from 1471, a famous Franciscan preacher. His nepotism led to many abuses and he is said to have connived at the Pazzi conspiracy against the Medici at Florence; it was certainly engineered by his nephew the future Julius II. He fostered learning, built the Sistine chapel and the Sistine bridge and enriched painters; but he lowered the moral authority of the papacy. In 1482 he entered into an alliance with the Venetians which led to a general Italian war. His private life seems to have been blameless. SIXTUS V (1521-90) was pope from 1585, a great Franciscan preacher and a professor of theology. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. A great number of immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity.
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