The surname of MARDEN was derived from the Old English MEARC-DENU - meaning 'boundary valley'. A locational name 'of Marden', place names in the Counties of Herefordshire, Kent and Wales. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The earliest record of the name appears to be Maurdine (without surname) was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Edwin Meredenna of the County of Herefordshire was documented in 1166. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th until the 15th century. They had not been in use in England before the Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, when they were introduced into England by the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for a gentleman to have but one single name, as the meaner sort. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that it became general practice for all people. Later instances of the name mention Edward Mardone of County Somerset, who was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and Thomas Mardon of Yorkshire who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
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