The German surname of FELDMAN was a locational name meaning the dweller at the 'feld' someone who lived on land which had been cleared of forest a piece of land especially used for tillage or pasture and usually bounded by hedges. Local names usually denoted where a man held land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name has travelled widely throughout Europe and into the United States in many forms, some of which include FIELD, FEILD, FEILDBERG, FIELDEN, VELDEN, FELD, VELDMAN, VELTMAN and FELDBAU, to name but a few. 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. An English family by the name FEILDING, also found as FIELDING and FYILDING, trace their descent from Geoffrey FEILDING, who fought under Henry III (1216-72). They hold the earldoms of Denbigh and Desmond, and a branch of the family included the novelist Henry FIELDING (1707-54). Research shows that the given name Rudolph became popular in the family because of a claimed relationship to the Habsburgs, for which there is no documentary foundation. 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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