This widespread English, German, French Catalan, Italian, Spanish and Hungarian name was originally derived from a Germanic personal name ALBRECHET, which was composed of the elements ADAL (noble) and BERHT (bright and famous). This was one of the most common Germanic given names, and was borne by various medieval princes, military leaders and great churchmen, notably St. Albert of Prague (Czech name Vojtech, Latin name Adalbertus), a Bohemian prince who died a martyr in 997 attempting to convert the Prussians to Christianity; St Albert the Great (?1193-1280) Aristotelian theologian and tutor of Thomas Aquinas; and Albert the Bear (1100-70) Margrave of Brandenburg. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France 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. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. A notable member of this name was Georg Moritz EBERS, (l837-l898) German Egyptologist and novelist, born in Berlin. From l870 to l889 he was professor of Egyptology at Leipzig.
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