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Matta Coat of Arms / Matta Family Crest

Matta Coat of Arms / Matta Family Crest

This Spanish, Catalan and Portugese surname of MATTA, was a topographic name for someone who lived by a plantation of trees. The name was originally derived from the Old Spanish word MATA. Other spellings include MATA, MATAS, MATOS and MATILLA. 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. An infamous person of the name was MATA HARI, the stage name of Margarete Gertrude Zelle (1876-1917) the Dutch spy, born in Leeuwarden. She became a dancer in France in 1905, had many lovers, several in high military and governmental positions (on both sides) and, found guilty of espionage for the Germans, was shot in Paris. In Spain identifying patronymics are to be found as early as the mid-9th century, but these changed with each generation, and hereditary surnames seem to have come in slightly later in Spain than in England and France. As well as the names of the traditional major saints of the Christian Church, many of the most common Spanish surnames are derived from personal names of Germanic origin. For the most part these names are characteristically Hispanic. They derive from the language of the Visigoths, who controlled Spain between the mid-5th and early 8th centuries. Portugese surnames share many of the features of Spanish surnames, in particular Arabic and Visigothic influence. A notable feature of Portugese surnames is the class of religious names referring to festivals of the church or attributes of the Virgin Mary. One respect in which Portugese names differ from those of the rest of the Iberian peninsular, is that some were adopted at a comparatively late date and honour saints who did not give rise to surnames in other languages. Portugese names typically have the ending 'eiro'.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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