Van Der Meer Coat of Arms / Van Der Meer Family Crest
The surname of VAN DER MEER was a locational name for one that lived on a moor or in a fen, a habitation name from any of the various places in Belgium named with this word. The name was borne by several early saints, and as a given name was introduced by the Normans. Habitation names are derived from names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads or other named places, which include rivers, houses with signs on them, regions, or whole counties. The original bearer of the name who stayed in his area might be known by the name of his farm, or the locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another county could acquire the name of that county or the region from which he originated. For long periods of history, the northern part of Belgium was administratively united with the Netherlands. The Flemish language, spoken in northern Belgium, is very closely related to Dutch, and its surnames are often nearly identical to Dutch, and have been influenced by both German and French surnames, which began in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. A notable member of the name is Simon VAN DER MEER, born in 1925, the Dutch physicist and engineer from the Hague. He shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1984 for work on the CERN project which led to the discovery of the field particles W and Z, which transfer the weak nuclear interaction.
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