The surname of MAEZ was a Low German and Dutch baptismal name, a form of Thomas. The name is universal, originally from the popular medieval given name of biblical origin. The name was originally an Aramaic name meaning 'a twin' borne by one of the disciples of Christ, best known for his scepticism about Christ's resurrection (John 20:24-9). This disciple is stated by Eusebius, on no scriptural authority, to have borne the given name Judah. Before the Norman Conquest of 1066 the name is found only as the name of a priest or a man of the cloth. After this time it became one of the most popular christian names.It was also a topographic name for someone living on the banks of the river MAAS, which flows through Belgium and Holland. It was originally named as the MOSA, a name of apparently Celto-Ligurian origin. The name is also spelt MAES, VERMAAS, MASI, MASO, MASSMANN, MAASCKE, MASIONIS and MAAHS. Nicholas MAES (1634-93) was the painter, born at Dordrecht, The Netherlands. He studied in Rembrandt's studio in Amsterdam, returning to Dordrecht by 1654. He specialized in kitchen scenes, e.g. 'Woman Scraping Parsnips' (1655), which is in the National Gallery, London, and old women praying. After a visit to Antwerp in 1665, he turned to portraiture in a style derived from van Dyck. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. Compared to other countries, Dutch heraldry is notably simpler, some of the shields bearing only a single charge. Generally speaking one helmet, one shield and one crest has been used, quartering is uncommon and mottoes are rare. 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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