This Italian surname of MACCHIA was a locational name for someone who lived in or near a thicket. The name is also spelt MACHAR, MACIA, MACCIA, MACCHI and MACCHIO. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Josef Scatopluk MACHAR (1864-1942) was the Czech poet. A bank official in Vienna, he was the author of satirical and political verse, known for the trilogy 'Confiteor' (1887), the verse romance 'Magdalena' (1893) and the epic 'Warriors of God' (1897). Francisco MACIA (1859-1933) was the leader of the Catalan movement and first president of Catalonia. Despite evidence that hereditary surnames were in use in the Venetian Republic as early as the 10th Century, the origin of many Italian surnames is unclear. There is still a great potential for research into medieval Italian records while documented evidence indicates the adoption of the father's name as a surname is the most common form. The familiar endings of "i" and "o", meaning to be a member of a certain family, bears this out. The Church played a very important role in Central Italian heraldry and many Italian families who derived their titles from popes incorporated elements of the papal insignia, notably the papal tiara and the crossed keys, on their Coats of Arms. As in the rest of Europe, the turbulent history of Italy in the Middle Ages is reflected in its heraldry. Traces remain from the successive invasions of the Germans, French, Spanish and Austrians. Certain characteristics, such as the use of horse-shaped shields which were put on the foreheads of horses during tournaments, remain uniquely Italian.
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