The name of MUHL was of German and Swiss origin. It was an occupational name meaning 'one who ground grain, a miller'. The mill, whether powered by water, wind or (occasionally) animals, was an important centre in every medieval settlement; it was normally operated by an agent of the local landowner, and individual peasants were compelled to come to him to have their corn ground into flour, a proportion of the ground corn being kept by the miller by way of payment. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even religious dwellings gave rise to many family names which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. The associated arms are recorded in Reitstaps Armorial General. The arms were registered in Germany and Switzerland. There are many eminent persons of this name and Otto Frederick Muller (1730-84) was the Danish biologist, born in Copenhagen. He was the inventor of the naturalist's dredge. William James Muller (1812-45) was the English painted, born in Bristol. His early landscapes dealt mainly with Gloucestershire and Wales.
Sir Ferdinand Muller (1825-96) was the German born, Australian botanist, born in Rostock. He emigrated to Australia in 1847, and was director of Melbourne Botanic Gardens from 1857-73. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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