This German surname of PLOEGER was an occupational name for a ploughman or plowright. In the Middle Ages ploughing was shared at the appropriate season by virtually all male members of the agricultural community. There were various minor servants who served both the lord of the manor and his serfs. These men usually did not farm enough work to support themselves and their families, and were forced to work for others. Some did so little work for the lord that he was glad to release them upon payment of a small money rent and they expended all their time in work for others. The name has numerous variant spellings which include PLEUMAN, PLOWS, PFLUG, PFLUGER, PFLUGNER, PFLEIGNER, PLOOG, PLOGER, PLEUGER, and PLOUG. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. A notable member of the name was Edward PFLUGER (1829-1910) the German physiologist, born in Hanau. He was professor at Bonn in 1859, and did important work on the sensory system. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. A great number of immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity.
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