This Danish surname of BEYER is of the locational group of surnames, which was derived from the place where a man once lived or held his land. In the case of this name, it is associated with the Danish word 'bayer' meaning 'one who came from Bavaria'. Thus the name literally meant 'the Bavarian', and the name developed to identify those who lived in the southern German state of Bavaria. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. The practice of adopting surnames spread to Denmark and Norway from Germany, during the late Middle Ages, but until the 19th century, they were neither fixed nor universal. The Danish state has in recent years been encouraging the adoption of a wider range of surnames. It has been said that in the sixth century Bavaria was settled by a Germanic tribe who took the name Boioarii or Baiunarii, from which the variant spellings of BAIER, BEJER, BAYER and BEIYER are derived. Early instances of the name mention Heinricus BAWAERUS who lived in Oberdischingen in 1245, and Johann Jakob BAIER was professor of medicine at the University of Altdorf in 1677. In the last census of Denmark three hundred and forty people were listed with the surname BEIER. Jacob BEIER was granted a letter of nobility in 1510. 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. A notable member of the name includes Johann BAYER, the German theologian and astronomer, who published a celestial atlas, and was a learned philologist on eastern languages.
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