This Finnish surname of MAKELA is an ornamental name from the Finnish MAKI (hill) perhaps chosen as a topographic name by someone who lived on or near a hill. The name is also spelt MAKKARI, MAKI, MAKINEN and MAGISTE. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. Ahmed MAKKARI (1585-1631) was the Moorish historian, born in MAKKARA in Algeria. He wrote a 'History of the Mohammedan Dynasties of Spain'. Finnish is rather distantly related to Hungarian, and has always been close to Scandinavia, especially Sweden. Finland was under Swedish control during the Middle ages and there are many native speakers of Swedish within its borders. Finnish names are similar to Swedish ones, but are generally composed of only one element, quite often in reference to residence in someone's house or the follower of a particular trade. 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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