This surname of MEHNER was a French, German, and English status name for a mayor. The name was originally derived from the Old French word MAIRE, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form MAIOR (greater, superior); in France the title denoted various minor local officials, and the same is true of Scotland. In England the term was normally restricted to the chief officer of a borough, and the surname may have been given not only to a citizen of some standing who had held this office, but also as a nickname for a pompous or officious person. The name in Germany was originally for a village headman or similar official, and the German term also acquired the sense 'steward' 'bailiff' and later came to denote a tenant farmer. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MEHRING, MEHRE, MAIER, MEYER, MEIER, MEIRI, MERRE, MAYER and MAYERL to name but a few. An infamous member of the name was Franz MEHRING (1846-1919) the German left-wing writer and historian, born in Schlawe, Pomerania. He was a founder of the German Communist party and author of historical studies of the workers' movement. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. A great number of immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity. German or Teutonic heraldry extended its sphere of influence over central Europe and spread into Scandinavia. It is most notable for its design and treatment of crests, most of which reflect the arms in the charge or tinctures (colours) or both, which is unknown in British heraldry. Teutonic Europe assembled many arms on a single shield, each bearing its corresponding crest on a helmet.
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