Romanizing of a name-Bisenius
Does anyone know when the practice of Romanizing ones surname took place? I know that authors in the 1500 or 1600's had to Romanize their name. I am told that the wealthy did Romanize their name.
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I think the Reformation was the period in which this type of name caught on in the Protestant states of Northern Europe. When Western Europe was wholly Catholic, education was in the hands of the clergy. Scholarly types were usually clergy of some degree and so did not marry and have children. After the Reformation the Protestant clergy married and had children and so passed their surnames down to their children. Often they would have taken a name in Latin or Greek form during their university education. Even in universities not within the orbit of the "Church of Rome" Latin continued to be the language spoken and written language. These surnames came to be regarded by their bearers as conferring higher status than surnames in the vernacular, which probably accounts for their retention.
In Sweden, I believe, this type of name is still known as a "priest name".
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