This medieval given name WIENKE was originally from the Latin Vincentius. The name was borne by a 3rd century Spanish martyr widely venerated in the Middle Ages, and by a 5th century monk and writer of Lerins, as well as other early saints. In Eastern Europe the name was popular in honour of Wincenty Kadlubek (who died in 1223) a bishop of Cracow and an early chronicler; he was venerated especially in Silesia and his head was believed to rest in Wroclaw. A notable member of the name was Saint Vincent De Paul (1581-1660) the French priest and philanthropist, born in Pouy in Gascony. He was admitted to priest's orders in 1600. On a voyage from Marseilles to Narbonne in 1605 he was captured and sold into slavery in Tunis. His master, was persuaded by Vincent to return to the Christian faith, so, escaping they landed in France in 1607. Having then gone to Rome he was entrusted with a mission to the French Court in 1608, and became almoner of Henri IV's Queen. He formed associations for helping the sick. He was canonized in 1737 and his feast day is 19th July. The name is also spelt VINCETT, VINSUN, VIEZENZ, WIENTZEK, FIETZEK and WIECEK to name but a few. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. 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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