The surname of MATTOON was a baptismal name 'the son of Mathew'. 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. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MATUN, MATTONE, MATONE, MATHEW, MATHEY, MATHIE, MATHYS, MATEO, MATAS, MATTASER and MATESSIAN, to name but a few. Corvinus I MATTHIAS (1443-1490) was the king of Hungary, the second son of Janos Hunyady. He was elected in 1458, but it cost him six years' hard struggle against Turks, Bohemians, and the emperor Frederick III, before he could have himself crowned. His conquests were facilitated by the creation of a standing army and reform of the fiscal system, although his heavy taxation was unpopular. He coded the laws, patronized the arts, and founded a magnificent library, the 'Bibliotheca Corvina'. MATTHIAS (1557-1619) was the Holy Roman Emperor, the third son of Emperor Maximilian II. He was a tolerant man in religious matters, and favoured a policy of moderation. Early records of the name in England include William MATUN, who was recorded in County Norfolk in the year 1275, and Matheon MATEON was documented in Cumberland in the year 1327. William MATHON of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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.
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