This famous Italian, Spanish and Portuguese surname is recorded in many forms including Sanci, Sancho, Sanchez, Sans, Sancias and Sanzio. However spelt it is both religious and baptismal in original, the derivation being from the Roman (Latin) 'sanctus' meaning blameless, holy, and later saintly, a meaning which no doubt greatly contributed to its popularity both as a given name and later a surname. The name was also given further impetus by a 9th century martyr from Cordova, who seems to be have been confusingly known as 'Sanctus, the Sanctus'. Even without the strong religious element, Spain was a province of the Roman Empire for several centuries, and many Spanish and Portuguese names owe their existence to this period, of which this is one. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from authentic civil and church registers include Catarina Sanci, born at Sevilla, Spain, on November 23rd 1520, and Bartolome Sanches, christened at Villapalacio, San Sebastian, Spain, on June 27th 1588. The coat of arms has the very distinctive blazon of a blue field charged with a gold eagle displayed wearing a crown. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alonso Sanchez de Copeda, which was dated 1509, at the city of Alicante, Spain, during the reign of King Ferdinand 11, of Spain and Portugal, 1489 - 1512. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.