Schulenburg Coat of Arms / Schulenburg Family Crest
SCHULENBURG was originally an occupational name for a scholar or a student training to be a priest. The name was derived from the Old German word SCHULE (school) and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form SCHOLA. It was also a Jewish occupational name for a Talmudic scholar or the sexton of a synagogue. The name has numerous variant spellings which include SCHULLER, SCHULLERUS, SCHULMAN, SZULMAN, SCHOOLNIK and SKOLNIKOV. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. A notable member of the name was Countes Ehrengard Melusina von der SCHULENBURG (1667-1743) the German noblewoman and mistress of George I of Britain, nicknamed 'The Maypole' because of her lean figure. She was created Duchess of Kendal in 1719. 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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