This surname of SEIFERT was originally derived from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements SIGI (victory) and FRIDU (peace). The German surname has also occasionally been adopted by Ashkenazic Jews. The name has many variant spellings which include SIEGFREID, SEEFRIED, SEIFET, SUFFERT, SIEWERTSEN and SIEFKEN. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. When traditional Jews were forced to take family names by the local bureaucracy, it was an obligation imposed from outside traditional society, and people often took the names playfully and let their imaginations run wild by choosing names which corresponded to nothing real in their world. No one alive today can remember the times when Jews took or were given family names (for most Ashkenazim this was the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th) although many remember names being changed after emigration to other countries, such as the United States and Israel in recent years. A notable member of the name is Jaroslav SEIFERT, born in 1901, the Czech poet brought up in a poor family in a working class suburb of Prague. His first collection was 'Mesto v Slzack' (1921) (City of Tears) in which he looked back in anger at the human waste of World War I. Andre SIEGFRIED (1875-1959) the French economist, historian and Academician. He was specially noted for his studies of Canada, the States and Latin America. His works included 'Les Etats-unis d'aujourd'hui' (1927) and 'America Mid-century' (1955).
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