This surname of CUSTER was a German occupational name for a sexton or church-warden. The name was derived from the Old German word KUSTER, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form CUSTOR (warden, guard). The name has numerous variant spellings which include KUSTERMANN, KOSTER, KUSTERSM, KOSTERING and CUSTERS. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. George Armstrong CUSTER (1839-76) was the US cavalry general. After earning distinction in the Civil War, he commanded the Seventh Cavalry during the western campaigns against the Indians. He was sent to round up Sioux and Cheyenne forces under Chief Sitting Bull, in South Dakota's Black Hills in 1876, an erroneous reconnaissance report led him to divide his force and he and about 260 were massacred by the main Indian strength at Little Bighorn, (Custer's Last Stand). 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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