This German and Swedish surname of NOETH is a topographic name for someone who lived in the northern part of a village, or to the north of a main settlement. It may also have been applied to someone who had migrated from the north. The name has many variant spellings which include NORDMAN, NORBERG (north hill), NORRBY (north settlement), NORDAHL (north valley), NORDLUND (north grove), NORDLOF (north leaf), NORDMARK (north land), NORDQUIST (north twig) and NORDSTROM (north river) to name but a few. In the 17th century, so-called 'soldiers' names are found as the earliest kind of hereditary surnames in Sweden. These names were derived from vocabulary words, usually martial-sounding monosyllables such as Rapp (prompt) Rask (bold), or occasionally names of animals and birds. The names were bestowed on soldiers for administrative purposes, and no doubt in some cases derived from pre-existing nicknames. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized. Most Swedes did not adopt hereditary surnames until a century or more later, and the patronymic system was still in use in rural areas until late in the 19th century. In the absence of evidence to the contrary it is thought that people may have adopted their surname from the area in which they lived. A notable member of the name was Amalie NOETHER (1882-1935) the German mathematician, born in Erlangen. She was the daughter of Max NOETHER, and studied at Erlangen and Gottingen. Though invited to Gottingen in 1915, as a woman she could not hold a full academic post at that time, but worked there in a semi-honorary capacity, until she emigrated to the United States in 1933.
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