This surname of MIEDEMA is a Spanish and Catalan habitation name from any of the several places, as for example MEDINA-Sidonia in Cadiz, and MEDINA del Camp in Valladolid, so called from the Arabic MEDINA city. The name was also applied to someone who had made a pilgrimage to this holy city. The name is also borne by Sefardic Jews, the reason for its adoption is unclear. The name is also spelt MIDEMA, MEDINA and MIDIEMA. 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. Alonzo Perez de Gusman el Bueno, 7th Duke of MEDINA-Sidonia (1550-1619) was the Spanish naval commander, captain general of Andalusia and one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Spain. He was a distinguished administrator with a good record in the conquest of Portugal. Appointed to command the Great Armada in the Enterprise of England on the death of the Marquis of Santa Cruz in 1588, he led the Armada successfully up the English Channel to rendezvous with Parma off the Dutch coast, but was thwarted by the latter's failure to break out, action by the English fleet and adverse weather. He returned to Spain north-about round Britain, and continued in royal service. In 1964, The United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Social Security Administration made a report of the 'Distribution of Surnames of the Social Security Account Number File'. It was found that there were 1,091,522 different surnames in the file. In the form MEDINA this surname ranked 614th, and there were 43,200 persons of the name scattered over America. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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