During my research on branched coverings of the projective plane, I am interested to know the origins and history of branched coverings of the projective plane and the projective line, together with the rise of the concept of "branch point" or "branch curve" (resp. "ramification points" or "ramification curve"). It seems that the modern conception was developed by Zariski and Segre in the 20s and 30s of the 20th century, and the example of Zariski-Segre of the branch curve of degree 6 (having 6 cusps on a conic) of a cubic surface projected generically to the projective plane, is well known. But were there other mathematicians before them who helped conceptualize this concept?
Thank you, Thomas