This Hungarian surname of YANT was originally derived from the Hebrew given name YOCJANAN (Jehovah has favoured me with a son), and the name was adopted into the Latin (via Greek) as JOHANNES. This name has enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe, being given in honour of St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ and of St. John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel, as well as others of the nearly one thousand saints of the name. There are numerous variant spellings of the surname, and it is known to every country in the world in different forms which include YANKOV, YANSHONOK, YANUK, YANUKHIN, YANYUSHKIN, YANTSUREV, YANYSHEV and YANSHINOV to name but a few. There have been many notables of the name including twenty-one popes and two anti-popes XVI (997-8) and XXIII the former included in the papal numbering, which erroneously contained a fictitious John XV who was thought to have ruled for a few weeks immediately prior to the true John (985-96). The Hungarian language is quite distinct from its Germanic and Slavonic neighbours, and is of Finno-Ugric rather than European origin, and so it is related to Finnish. However, the strongest cultural influence in historical times has been German, and the pattern of Hungarian surnames is similar to that found in Germany and Austria. In the 19th century, surnames ending in 'Y' came to be considered more aristocratic than those ending in 'I', although it has been shown that the alternation between these two letters depended on the whim of a clerk, and had no connection with rank. A notable member of the name is Alexander YANKOV, born 22nd June 1924. He has been the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of Bulgaria to the United Nations since 1976; Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bulgaria, since 1976. 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.
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