This universal surname of MINCHEW now widespread throughout Europe in its many forms of spelling was originally from a medieval given name, from the Latin DOMINICUS meaning 'of the Lord'. The name was borne by a Spanish saint (1170-1221) who founded the Dominican order of monks, and whose fame gave an added boost to the popularity of the name, already well established because of its symbolic value. In 1212 St. Dominic founded the Order of Friars Preachers. Born in Calaruega in Old Castile, he studied at Palencia acquiring such a name for piety and learning that in 1193 the bishop of Osma made him a canon and relied on his help to reform the whole chapter according to the Augustine rule. He led a life of rigorous asceticism and devoted himself to missionary labours among Muslims and 'heretics'. In 1204 he accompanied his bishop on a political mission, and had to travel round the south of France three times. By 1220 the Dominicans adopted a poverty so rigid that not even the order as a corporation could hold houses or lands, and thus they forced themselves to become beggars. The order spread all over the world, including France, Italy, Spain and Austria, and in England, from their dress, they became known as the Black Friars. He was canonized in 1234 by Gregory IX. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MENICO, MENICHI, MECCO, MENCI, MINCHI, DOMINKA, MINK, DOMONIK and MOUGIN to name but a few. 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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