This surname of GOLDENBERG was an English and German metonymic occupational name for someone who worked in gold, a refiner, jeweller or gilder. It was also a nickname for someone with bright yellow hair, with reference to the colour of metal. The Old personal name persisted into the Middle Ages as a given name. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. The name has numerous variant spellings which include GOOLD, GOLD, GILDER, GOLDERBURG, GOLDENFELD, GOLDLAND, GOLDSTERN and GYLLENHAMMAR, 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. A notable member of the name was Joseph GOLDBERGER (1874-1929) the Hungarian born American physician and epidemiologist, born in Giralt. He came to the United States as a child and qualified in medicine (1895) at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City. He joined the United States Public Health Service in 1899, where he investigated the spread of a number of infectious diseases.
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