The surname of HEIMBACH was a locational name, one who came from Hamburg - the forest of trees and the name of a place in Germany, the great city at the mouth of the river Elbe, or from some other place so named from the Germanic elements HAM (water meadow) and BURG (fortress town). The name is also spelt HEIMBERGER, HAMBERGER, HAMBURGER, HAMBORG, HAMBORCH and GAMBOURG. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. The name was also a status name for a village headman, composed of the elements HEIM (homestead, settlement) and BORAGEN (to guard). This was the title regularly used for the office of village headman in Franconia. 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.
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