This surname BAUER was of German origin, a status name for a peasant or a nickname for a neighbour or fellow citizen. The Middle German word GIBURO, (from which this name was derived) denoted an occupier of a small dwelling or building. The name has many variant spellings which include BAUERLE, BAUERLEIN, BAUERMEISTER, BAUERNFEUND, and BAUMEISTER. Family names are a fashion we have inherited from the times of the Crusades in Europe, when knights identified one another by adding their place of birth to their first or Christian names. With so many knights, this was a very practical step. Notable members of the name include Christian Ferdinand BAUR (1792-1860) the German theologian and New Testament critic, born in Schmiden, near Stuttgart He held the Tubingen chair of Theology from 1826, and founded the Tubingen School of theology, the first to use strict historical research methods in the study of early Christianity. Willi BAUMEISTER (1889-1955) was the German painter, born in Stuttgart. For some years he was professor at the Frankfurt School of Art. His series of paintings show a wide variety of theme and style. In the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries the nobles and upper classes, particularly those descended from the knights of the Crusades, recognised the prestige an extra name afforded them, and added the surname to the simple name given to them at birth. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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