This surname LINDA was a German, Swedish and Dutch topographic name for someone who lived by a conspicuous lime tree, derived from the Old German word LINDE. There are several places, especially in northern Germany, named with this word, and the name may also be a habitation name from any of these. The word was also used in a number of Old German women's names, with the meaning 'shield' or 'spear' (shields and spears being made from the hard wood of the lime). The name is also spelt LINDBERGH, LINDAU, LINDENBERG, LINDL, LINDEN, LINDERMANN, LINDENFELD and LINDWASSER, to name but a few. 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 Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. A notable member of this name was Johannes van der LINDEN (l756-l835) Dutch jurist. He practised in Amsterdam, where he became a judge. He is remembered in South Africa for his 'Rechtsgeleerd Practicaal en Koopmans-Handboek' (l806) in which he frequently refers to Pothier. Sometimes called 'The Institutes of the Law of Holland', in 1852 it was made the official law book of the South African Republic. Another notable of the name was Rudolf LINDAU (1829-1910) the German author and diplomat. He wrote travel books and novels and was an editor of 'Revue des deux mondes' and 'Journal des debats'. His brother Paul LINDAU (1839-1919) founded 'Die Gegenwart' and wrote books of travel and works of criticism. He is better known as a writer of plays and novels, the most successful of the former was 'Maria and Magdalena'. His novels include 'Berlin' (1886-7). 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: January 15th, 2021
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