This surname of BERGAN is of Dutch, German and French origin, a locational name 'the dweller near a rocky mountain, or beside the bank of a river'. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name in Germany is spelt as Berge, Bergman, Bergmann and Bergendhal. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. 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. A notable member of this name was Ingmar BERGMAN, born in 1918, the Swedish film and stage director, born in Uppsala. His most famous films were 'The Seventh Seal' (1957) and 'The Face' (1958) which are outstanding for their artistic photography. He created a succession of bleak masterpieces including 'Shame' (1968) and 'Autumn Sonata' (1978).
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