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Van Der Bilt Coat of Arms / Van Der Bilt Family Crest

This Dutch and Low German surname of VAN DER BILT is a topographic name for someone who lived on a hillock or mound. The name was derived from the Middle German word BILTE, and other spellings of the name include VAN DER BILTE, VAN DE BELT and VAN DER BELD. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. Dutchmen who have surnames from towns, cities or districts, are mostly distinguished by the prefix VAN. In the United States the use of capital and initial letters and spaces is optional with the particular family. 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. A notable member of the name was Cornelius VANDERBILT (1794-1877) the American financier, born on Staten Island, New York. At the age of 16 he bought a boat and ferried passengers and goods between Staten Island and New York City. By 40 he had become the owner of steamers running to Boston and up the Hudson. In 1849 during the Gold Rush, he established a route by Lake Nicaragua to California, and during the Crimean War, a line of steamships to Havre. In 1862 he sold his ships and entered on a great career of railroad financing, gradually obtaining a controlling interest in a large number of railways. William Henry VANDERBILT (1821-85) his eldest son, greatly extended the VANDERBILT system of railways. Another son, Cornelius VANDERBILT (1843-99) left 25 million dollars. Compared to other countries, Dutch heraldry is notably simpler, some of the shields bearing only a single charge. Generally speaking one helmet, one shield and one crest has been used, quartering is uncommon and mottoes are rare.

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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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