This German and Jewish surname of FASSLER was an occupational name for a maker and seller of casks and tubs, or a nickname for someone as rotund as a barrel. 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. The German name is from the Middle German FAZ (vat) and the Jewish name from the modern German word FASS (cask). The name is also spelt FASCH, FASSLER and FESSLER. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. A notable member of the name was Johann Friedrich FASCH (1688-1758) the German composer, born in Buttelstedt, Weimar. He was educated at the Thomasschule, Leipzig and founded the Collegium Musicum there. After a roving life he was in 1722 appointed kapellmeister at Zerbst. He wrote overtures, three operas and several masses. His son Carl Friedrich Christian FASCH (1736-1800) was a harpischordist and composer and was appointed accompanist to Frederick, II, the Great, who played the flute.
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