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. The surname of SCHWEBEL was a German and Ashkenazic Jewish regional name for someone from Swabia. The name was derived from the German word SCHWABEN, so called from a Germanic tribe recorded from the Ist century BC in the Latin form SUEBI or SUEVI. This region in south Germany was an independent duchy from the 10th century until 1313, when the territory was broken up. The name is also spelt SCHWOB, SCHWABE, SCHWAF, SWAAB, SOAVE and SCHWABLE. A notable member of the name was Heinrich Samuel SCHWABE (1789-1875) the German amateur astronomer, born in Dessay. In 1843 he discovered a ten-year sunspot cycle (later found to be rather more than eleven years) which was brought to recognition by von Humboldt. 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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