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Neuner Coat of Arms / Neuner Family Crest

Neuner Coat of Arms / Neuner Family Crest

There is a large group of surnames, more frequent in French, German and Italian names, which are actually a compound of nickname and patronymic. They consist of an adjective indicating size or an attractive quality as a prefix attached to a given name. NEUNER is such a name literally meaning 'the miller who lived in the new house'. Other spellings of the name include NEWMILLER, NEUMILL, NAUMILLER and NEWMILL. In the Middle Ages the majority of the population lived in cottages or huts rather than houses, and in most cases this name probably indicates someone who had some connection with the largest and most important building of the settlement, perhaps in a religious house or simply the local 'great house'. In some cases it may indicate a 'householder' someone who owned his own dwelling as opposed to being a tenant. 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. Medieval records disclose a tendency on the part of the millers to substitute grain of poor quality for the good grain they were given to grind. Thus, as a group they were not popular, although many were among the most wealthy of a village. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.


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last updated on: November 23rd, 2019

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