This surname ELIZABETH was a Basque topographic name for someone who lived by a church. The name was originally derived from the word ELEIZA, and was also the name of a village in northern Spain, from where the original bearer may have taken his name. The name is also spelt ELIZALDE and ELEJALDE. As a baptismal name ELIZABETH means 'oath of God' and this font name has many link names which include Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Betty and Lillie. A report by the United States Social Security Commission in 1971, showed that the name Betty was being given with greater frequency as an independent first name, something that happened in England in the 1920's. 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 Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685.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. There are various places of the name that bear tribute to the wives or daughters of early settlers and founders of the United States of America. Elizabethtown, New York, for example, was actually named after two identically named women, both Elizabeth Gilliland, respectively the wife and daughter of William Gilliland (1734-1796) a pioneer settler in the Champlain valley. Some of the Elizabeths will have been American, not English or Scottish, or Welsh or Irish. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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