The surname of HEBEL is of German origin, an occupational name 'one who grew and sold oats'. Most of the occupations or professions reflected in family names are those known in the small villages in Europe, or those followed in a kings, or an important noble's household, or in some large religious house or monastery. During the Middle Ages much of Europe composed of small villages, and many family surnames sprang from the occupation of the owner, and to describe a man by his occupation or profession was the most natural way to address a man, and set him apart from others in the neighbourhood. The name is also spelt HABER, HEBERLEIN, HAFER, HABERER, HABERMANN, GABERMAN, HAVER, HOBERMAN and HABERSTAUB, to name but a few. A notable member of the name was Fritz HABER (1868-1934) the German chemist, born in Breslau. He became professor of chemistry at Karlsruhe and Director of the Kaiser Whilhelm Institute in Berlin. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1918. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. 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.
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