Van De Voorde Coat of Arms / Van De Voorde Family Crest
The Dutch surname VAN DE VOORDE was an occupational name 'the keeper of the ford' the man in charge of the river crossing. Local names find their origins in the villages, towns and areas where people were born, or from the land they owned. In the Middle Ages, a man was identified by his place of birth and almost every city, town and village existing medieval in times has originated one or more family names. Anyone leaving his birthplace would be known to new friends and neighbours by the name of his former residence, his birthplace, or the land he owned. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. The name is also spelt VAN DER VOORT, VERVOORT, VERWOERD, VOORTMAN and VANWOERD. A notable member of the name was Hendrik Freusch VERWOERD (1901-66) the South African politician, born in Amsterdam. He was professor at Stellenbosch and edited the nationalist 'Die Transvaler' (1938-48). When the first immigrants from Europe went to America, the only names current in the new land were Indian names which did not appeal to Europeans vocally, and the Indian names did not influence the surnames or Christian names already possessed by the immigrants. Mostly the immigrant could not read or write and had little or no knowledge as to the proper spelling, and their names suffered at the hands of the government officials. The early town records are full of these mis-spelt names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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