Van Der Leest Coat of Arms / Van Der Leest Family Crest
The surname of VAN DER LEEST was a Dutch occupational name, a maker of lasts, wooden moulds of the foot, used by shoe-makers from the Old German word LAST. 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. The name is also spelt as LASTUE, LAST, VAN LAST, VAN LEEST, LASTER, LEISTENMACHER, LEISTENSCHNEIDER and LEESTMAN. The name was brought into England at an early date where it has been anglicized to LAST. Most of the occupations or professions reflected in family names are those known in the small villages in Europe, or those followed in a kings, or an important noble's household, or in some large religious house or monastery. During the Middle Ages much of Europe was composed of small villages, and many families surnames sprang from the occupation of the owner, and to describe a man by his occupation or profession was the most natural way to address a man, and set him apart from others in the neighbourhood. 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. 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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