The French surname of MARKWARDT was a French topographic name for the dweller at the boundary mark, or one who came from Marck (frontier district) in France. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. 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. This name is also spelt MARQUETTE and MARQUET. 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 brough 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. 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.
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