This interesting surname recorded in some two hundred forms from Martin and Martini to Marti and Martinovich, is of Roman origin. It derives from "Mars", the god of fertility and war, although it is claimed that "Mars" itself may derive ultimately from the word "mar", meaning "to gleam".
The original given name has been used in every state in Europe since the 12th century crusades to free the Holy Land from the Moslems. However the main impetus which gave the name such popularity was as a result of the good works of the 14th Century Saint Martin of Tours, in France. It is sais that Martin is one of the few saints names which the protestants accepted after the reformation. There are many patronymic forms such as Martinez (Spanish) or Martenssen (Swedish), and diminutives such as Martineau (France) and Martinelli (Italian). Curiously the Polish spellings of Marcinkowski and Marciszewski are locational, originating from a town called Martin, as is the Czech Martinovsky.
Examples of the surname recordings taken from authentic registers of the period include John Martin of Plymouth, England, who was navigator to Sir Francis Drake, on his first "Round the World" voyage of 1577, whilst Christopher Martin was a member of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. Suarez Martinez was christened at Asuncion, Mexico, on October 2md 1774, whilst Jack Martinet was registered at Berkeley, California on September 27th 1909, and Jeffrey Lynn Martineau at Los Angelos on April 10th 1948. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Martin, which was dated 1166, in the charters of the county of Northampton, England, during the reign of King Henry II, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189.
Recorded in a number of spellings including Mordan, Morden, Mordin, Mordon, Mordern, Murdan, Murden, and possibly others, this is an English medieval surname. It is locational and originates from Mordon, a place in County Durham. The derivation of this place name and hence the later surname, is from the Old English pre 7th century word 'mor', meaning moor or fenland, and '-dun', a hill, thus the hill in the fen country.
The placename Mordon first appears on record as Murdon in the year 1050 a.d. in the book known as "The History of St. Cuthbert', and later in the Pipe Rolls of Durham in 1196, as Mordon. During the Middle Ages it became customary for people to migrate, generally to seek work elsewhere, and they would often adopt or be given as their surname, the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic soon lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. Amongst the early recordings in Durham is the christening of William Mordan, on October 20th 1633 at St. Andrew's, Bishop Auckland.
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Mordon. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272-1307.
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