The surname of MATTHEW was a baptismal name 'the son of Mathew'. 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. The name was found in medieaval registers throughout the country, and means 'gracious gift of Jehovah'. It was an exceedingly popular font name during the 11th and 12th Centuries. The name was brought from France in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Mathiu, listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Alan Mathew of Canterbury, County Kent was recorded in the year of 1260. Mattheu Robert of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Robert Mathewson and Joane Goringe were married at St. Thomas the Apostle, London in 1559. This English surname was brought from England to Ireland by settlers who established themselves mainly in eastern Leinster in the counties of Dublin and in Louth, and in easter Ulster, in the counties of Down and Antrim. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name.
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