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Commander Family Crest / Commander Coat of Arms

Commander Family Crest / Commander Coat of Arms

The surname of COMMANDER was of the official occupational group of surnames 'the commander' one who commands, a ruler or leader'. It also sometimes meant an officer in charge of a COMMANDERY, i.e. of the Knights Templars. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Roger le Cumandur de Templo who was recorded in 1176 in County Cornwall. William le Comandur was recorded in County Somerset in 1274. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Later instances of the name mention James Comaunder who was buried at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1603. Charles Fleetwood of Feltwell, County Norfolk, married Dame Mary Hartoppe of Newington, County Middlesex; alleged by Hercules Commander of St. Faith's, London (gentleman) 1663. Randolph Comander of Preston was listed in the Lancashire Wills at Richmond in the year 1701, and Ralph Commander was recorded in the same Wills in the year 1744. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.

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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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