This Russian surname of YURICK was originally derived from a Greek personal name GEORGIOS meaning a farmer, from the compound GE (earth) and ERGEIN (to work and till). Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. Its popularity increased at the time of the crusades, which brought greater contact with the Orthodox Church in which there was a thriving cult of an obscure saint of this name, supposedly martyred at Nicomedia in AD 303, although the authenticity of his very existence is doubtful. Other spellings of the name include YURIEV, YUREVICH, JUREWICZ, YEGERKOV, YIRENEV, YURYGIN, YUKHNEV and YURLOV, to name but a few. Many of the family YURIEV served the throne in noble positions and were granted fiefdoms in 1617 and other years. All this is shown by excerpts from the Official Service Archive retained in the Heraldry office and by the copy of the diploma granted on March 10th, 1789 to Aleksei, Nikolai, Dimitrii, Petr and Vasilii YURIEV in confirmation of their descent from the aforementioned noble forebears. Russian surnames are almost exclusively patronymic (occasionally metronymic) in form, usually ending in 'ov' or 'ev'. Habitation and topographic names are rare, and many common Russian surnames are polygenetic, and their literal meaning is clear, even though the reason for their adoption may not be. Heraldry appeared later in Russia than in most other Western European countries. It is generally agreed that it was copied from the west sometime in the late 17th century, and quickly achieved state significance. In 1722 Emperor Peter I (The Great) established an official Heraldry Office headed by a Master of Heraldry under the jurisdiction of the Senate, and granted 355 armorial bearings in the 18th century.
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