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Martin Family History
Family spelling variants include Martins, Martyn, Martyns, Marten, Martens, Martain, Matin, Martinet.
The modern surname stems from the Old French and Middle English personal name Martin, and as such refers back to the name of an ancestor, 'the son of Martin'.
The name itself probably has two origins. The first being the medieval Latin Martinus, which in turn is a derivative of Mars (genitive form Martis), the Roman god of fertility and war, the roots of which may ultimately derive from 'mar' meaning ‘gleam’. The second origin theory relates to the Old English habitational name, ‘settlement by a lake’ (from mere/mær meaning ‘pool’ or ‘lake’ + tun ‘settlement’) or ‘settlement by a boundary’ (from (ge)mære meaning ‘boundary’ + tun ‘settlement’).
There are approximately 1,026,506 Martin family members around the world, or probably double this when maiden name connections and other relations are taken into consideration.
It is estimated that the largest group of Martin family members live in the USA with 731,007 (71.2%) members, England with 86,073 (8.4%), Canada with 81,787 (8%), Australia with 49,951 (4.9%), South Africa with 41,130 (4%), Ireland with 14,738 (1.4%), Scotland with 11,150 (1.1%), New Zealand with 6,132 (0.6%) and Wales with 4,538 (0.4%) members.
Early bearers of this surname include Martinus, who in 1086 lived in Winton Domesday (Hants); Martinus, about 1166 in Northants Charters (Northants); Walter Martin, 1166 in Red Book of the Exchequer (Cambs); Elinor Martin, 1539 (Charlton Kings, Gloucs); Helin Martin, 1539 (Ipswich, Suffolk); Robert Martin, 1539 (Norwich, Norfolk); John Martin, 1540 (Guildford, Surrey); John Martin, 1540 (Rossington, WR Yorks); John Martin, 1558 (Saint Minver, Cornwall); John Martin, 1559 (Horsham, Sussex).
In 1881, the surname was most frequently observed in Middlesex, Surrey and Kent. There were 4,491 individuals recorded on that year's census in the southern county of Kent. The most common employment for Martin family members that year in the UK were agricultural labouring, general labouring and farming. Coal mining was less common.
In 1891, there were 62,762 references to the surname on the 1891 England and Wales census, with a further 9,027 recorded in Scotland.
1881, 1891 Census
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
International Genealogical Index, https://www.familysearch.org/
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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