This Italian surname of MARCOS was originally from the Latin Marcus, the personal name of St Mark the Evangelist, author of the second Gospel. The name was borne also by a number of other early Christian saints. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MARQUETTE, MARQUE, MARCUS, MARCHELLI, MARCUS, MARCHETTO, MARCHINI, MERKEL and MARCHENKO, to name but a few. MARCUS was an old Roman name of uncertain etymology; it may have some connection with the war God Mars. The given name was not as popular in England in the Middle Ages as it was on the Continent, especially in Italy, where the evangelist became the patron of Venice and the Venetian Republic, and was allegedly buried at Aquileia. In England the name was a topographic name for someone who lived on a boundary between two districts, or a habitation name from any of the various places named with this word, such as Mark in Somerset. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Adelolfus de Merc, who was recorded as a tenant-in-chief in the Domesday Book of 1086. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy. A notable member of the name was Jaques MARQUETTE (1637-75) the French Jesuit missionary and explorer, born in Laon. He was sent in 1666 to North America, where he brought Christianity to the Ottawa Indians around Lake Superior, and went on expeditions which discovered and explored the Mississippi (1673). He wrote an account of the journey. Another noteworthy person was Pierre Albert MARQUET (1875-1947) the French artist, born in Bordeaux. After initial hardships, he became, primarily an Impressionist landscape painter and travelled widely, painting many pictures of the Seine, Le Havre and Algiers.
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