The surname of FRIAS was a locational name 'of FRISIA' a place in Northern Germany. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. 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. The name is also spelt FRIESE, FRIES, FRIS, FRISSELL, FREHSE, FRISS and DE FRIES, to name but a few. The associated coat of arms are recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. Registered to Fries Nobility of the Empire in 1451. A notable member of the name was Elias Magnus FRIES (1794-1878) the Swedish botanist. He was professor at Uppsala, and keeper of the Botanical garden there. He wrote on fungi, lichens and the flora of Scandinavia, and introduced a new classifactory system. The genus Freesia is named after him. Family names are a fashion we have inherited from the times of the Crusades in Europe, when knights identified one another by adding their place of birth to their first or Christian names. With so many knights, this was a very practical step. In the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries the nobles and upper classes, particularly those descended from the knights of the Crusades, recognised the prestige an extra name afforded them, and added the surname to the simple name given to them at birth. 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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