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Mavis Coat of Arms / Mavis Family Crest

This surname MAVES was derived from the name MAVIS which was an old dialect word for a song thrush, perhaps a nickname for someone who could sing like such a bird. The name is also spelt MAVE, MAVIS and MAVISS. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Anton MAUVES (1838-88) was the painter, born in Zaandam, The Netherlands. Regarded as one of the greatest landscapists of his time, he painted country scenes. From 1878 he lived in Laren, where he founded the Dutch Barbizon School. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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