This surname of NYBERG was a German occupational name for an agricultural worker who was new to the area, originally derived from the Old German NIUWE (new) and GEBURE (peasant). Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. 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 name has many variant spellings which include NEUBERT, NEBUER, NAUBER, NIEBUHR, NIEBER, NIP and NIPPER. The name was also used by Ashkenazic Jews, apparently an adoption of the German surname (Jews were not usually agricultural workers at the time surnames were acquired). Alternatively, the name may have been taken by someone who had just built a new house, or it may have been intended to express hope for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem (from the modern German NEUBAU) meaning new building, reconstruction. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. A notable member of the name was Barthold Georg NIEBUHR (1776-1831) the German historian, born in Copenhagen, the son of Carstent NIEBUHR. He studied at Kiel, London and Edinbugh, Scotland, and in 1800 he entered the Danish State Service and in 1806 the Prussian civil service. In 1816 he was appointed Prussian Ambassador at the Papal Court. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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