This German and Ashkenazic Jewish surname of STIEFEL was an occupational name for a maker of boots, or a nickname for someone who made boots and shoes. The name was derived from the Old German word STIEFEL, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form AESTIVALE. This was an important occupation in the life of medieval Europe, and in the cities the craftsmen were restricted by guild laws. Shoemakers who made shoes, were often forbidden to mend them. This deliberate policy of protection for their members allowed only those members to fulfill their craft. The name may also have applied to someone who shod horses, the practice of nailing iron plates or rim shoes to the hoofs of horses was in regular use during the Middle Ages. It was also a German given name a diminutive of STEPHEN which was originally derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning 'crown'. This was a popular name throughout Christendom in the Middle Ages, having been borne by the first Christian martyr, stoned to death at Jerusalem three years after the death of Christ. The name is also spelt SHTIVEL, STIEFLER, STIFFELMAN and STIVELMAN. 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. German or Teutonic heraldry extended its sphere of influence over central Europe and spread into Scandinavia. It is most notable for its design and treatment of crests, most of which reflect the arms in the charge or tinctures (colours) or both, which is unknown in British heraldry. Teutonic Europe assembled many arms on a single shield, each bearing its corresponding crest on a helmet.
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