The French and German surname of YOAKUM was from the Hebrew male given name YOKAKIM (God has granted a Son) which occurs in the Bible, and was also borne, according to Medieval legend by the father of the Virgin Mary. A notable member of the name was JOACHIM of Floris (circa 1135-1202) the Italian mystic born in Calabria. In 1177 he became Abbot of the Cistercian Monastery of Corazzo and later founded a stricter order of monks, Ordo Florensis, at San Giovanni in Fiore, which was absorbed by the Cistercians in 1505. His mystical interpretation of history, based on historical parallels or concordances between the history of the Jewish People and that of the Church, was grouped into three ages, each corresponding to a member of the Trinity, the last, that of the Spirit, which was to bring perfect liberty, to commence in 1260. This mystical historicism was widely accepted although condemned by the Lateran Council in 1215, but lost influence when its prophecies did not come to pass. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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