This Dutch and Flemmish surname of VANDEMARK was originally from the Latin Marcus, the personal name of St Mark the Evangelist, author of the second Gospel. The name was borne also by a number of other early Christian saints. MARCUS was an old Roman name of uncertain etymology; it may have some connection with the war God Mars. The given name was not as popular in England in the Middle Ages as it was on the Continent, especially in Italy, where the evangelist became the patron of Venice and the Venetian Republic, and was allegedly buried at Aquileia. The name has spread widely in many forms which include MARKE, MARQUET, VAN DE MARK and VAN DE MEERKE. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. For long periods of history, the northern part of Belgium was administratively united with the Netherlands. The Flemish language, spoken in northern Belgium, is very closely related to Dutch, and its surnames are often identical or nearly identical to Dutch. 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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