This surname of MATISI is the Italian form of the name Matthew. The name was found in medieval registers throughout Europe, and means 'gracious gift of Jehovah'. It was an exceedingly popular font name during the 11th and 12th Centuries. This given name was of biblical origin, ultimately from the Hebrew male font name Matityahu, recorded in the Greek New Testament in the form Matthias, and rendered in ancient documents in the Latin form MATTHAUS. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MATHIEU, MATHET, MATHIAS, MATISS, DI MATTEO and MATTIA, to name but a few. 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 Henri MATISSE (1869-1954) French painter, born in Le Cateau. He first studied law in Paris, and then worked as a lawyer's clerk in St. Quentin. In 1892 he began studying seriously in Paris. The art of MATISSE owes a great deal to oriental influences, and he designed the stained glass for the Dominican Chapel du Rosaire at Vence, Alpes-Maritimes. 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. Many Italians emigrated to Australia during the 1920's, and there came a huge wave of immigrants, fleeing from poverty in their own country. They grew fruit and vegetables in Victoria, and cut sugar cane in Queensland, enjoying their new homeland.
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