This Dutch surname ONDERDONK is of two origins. It was derived from the Greek Andreas, a name meaning manly. It was the name of the first of Jesus Christ's disciples, which is known in various local forms throughout Christendom. The disciple is the patron saint of Scotland and there is a legend that his relics were brought to Scotland in the 4th century by a certain St. Regulus. He is also the patron saint of Russia. The name was popular in Eastern Europe and in Poland. The name was also a locational name meaning 'the man who came from DONK' - a mound surrounded by marsh in Brabant, the ploughed district. The name has numerous variant spellings which include ONDRUS, ONDRICH, ONDRAK, VONDRA, ANDRAULT, ANDRICHAK, ANDRUSAK and ANDROSIK, to name but a few. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames.
Compared to other countries, Dutch heraldry is notably simpler, some of the shields bearing only a single charge. Generally speaking one helmet, one shield and one crest has been used, quartering is uncommon and mottoes are rare. 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. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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