The name of MATZEN was a baptismal name 'the son of Matthew' an ancient personal name. 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. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MATSON, MATESON, MATERSON, MATHELON, MATE, MATHEY and MATHIE, to name but a few. Early records of the name mention Adam Matte, 1273 County Wiltshire. Thomas Mateson was documented in County Lancashire in the year 1300. Thomas Mateson of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Robert Matsone of County Yorkshire, registered at Oxford University in the year 1601. Gilbert Matson and Catharine Farquar were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1802. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. 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. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
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