Family name origins & meanings
- English, French, German, Hungarian (Donát), Polish, and Czech (Donát) : from a medieval personal name (Latin Donatus, past participle of donare, frequentative of dare ‘to give’). The name was much favored by early Christians, either because the birth of a child was seen as a gift from God, or else because the child was in turn dedicated to God. The name was borne by various early saints, among them a 6th-century hermit of Sisteron and a 7th-century bishop of Besançon, all of whom contributed to the popularity of the baptismal name in the Middle Ages, which was not checked by the heresy of a 4th-century Carthaginian bishop who also bore it. Another bearer was a 4th-century gramMarian and commentator on Virgil, widely respected in the Middle Ages as a figure of great learning.