The surname of GOTTSCH is a French, German and Jewish name, originally derived from a personal name GOT, meaning 'one at peace, or blessed by God'. A good man. The name has numerous variant spellings which include GOT, GOTTE, GOSCHEN, GOTCHER, GOHDE, GOTZE, GOENS, GODENS and GODET, to name but a few.It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. A notable member of this name was GOTZ von Berlichingen (l480-l562), German condottiere born in Jaxthausen in Wurttemberg, nicknamed 'of the iron-hand' because of a steel replacement for his right hand lost in the siege of Landshut (l505). From l497 onwards he was involved in continual feuds, in which he displayed both lawless daring and chivalrous magnanimity. Twice he was placed under the ban of the empire. He fought for Duke Ulrich of Wurttemberg (l5l9) against the Swabian league, and after his heroic defence of Mockmuhl was taken prisoner. In the Peasants' War of l525 he led a section of the insurgents, was captured by the Swabian leage, kept a prisoner at Augsburg for two years and sentenced to perpetual imprisonment. He was only freed on the dissolution of the league in l540. In l542 he was fighting in Hungary against the Turks, and in l544 in France. He died in his castle of Hornberg. He wrote an autobiography, published in l73l, on which GOETHE grounded his drama 'GOTZ VON BERLICHINGEN'. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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