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Hirsh Coat of Arms / Hirsh Family Crest

Hirsh Coat of Arms / Hirsh Family Crest

The name HIRSH is also spelt HERSCH, HERSPERGER, HIRSHBERG, HIRSCHBERGER and HARSCHBERGER. This was a Jewish habitation name from any of several places in Germany, for example in Thuringia, North Rhine-Westphalia, or what is now Jelenia Gora in Poland, all named with the elements HIRSCH (deer) and MANN. When traditional Jews were forced to take family names by the local bureaucracy, it was an obligation imposed from outside traditional society, and people often took the names playfully and let their imaginations run wild by choosing names which corresponded to nothing real in their world. No one alive today can remember the times when Jews took or were given family names (for most Ashkenazim this was the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th) although many remember names being changed after emigration to other countries, such as the United States and Israel in recent years. A notable member of the name was Samson Raphael HIRSCH (1808-88) the German Jewish theologian, born in Hamburg. He was the leader of the modern revival of orthodox Judaism. When the first immigrants from Europe went to America, the only names current in the new land were Indian names which did not appeal to Europeans vocally, and the Indian names did not influence the surnames or Christian names already possessed by the immigrants. Mostly the immigrant could not read or write and had little or no knowledge as to the proper spelling, and their names suffered at the hands of the government officials. The early town records are full of these mis-spelt names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed. 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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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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