This Dutch surname of VAN DEVER was of the locational group of surnames meaning 'one who came from the province of Friesland', a Frisian. The name of this region is ancient and of uncertain etymology; the most plausible speculation derives it from an Indo-European root 'PREI' (to cut), with reference to the dykes necessary for the cultivation of low-lying land. There is archaeological evidence of the construction of ditches and dams along the southern shores of the North Sea from at least the time of Christ. It was also an occupational name for a builder of dams and dykes. The word was used in this sense in various parts of Germany during the Middle Ages, and is probably a transferred use of the ethnic term, dyke building being a characteristic occupation of Frieslanders. The name is also spelt DEVER, DEVERE, VAN VRIE, VAN VRIES and VANDERVRIES. A notable member of the name was Hugo Marie DEVRIES (1848-1935) who was the Dutch botanist, who first recognized the importance of mutation. DE VRIES observed, how, occasionally a new variety would arise from his plant-breeding experiments. He realised that this sudden variation, which he termed mutation, could play an important part in the evolution of things. DE VRIES worked out his own laws of inheritance only to discover, that in 1900 Mendel's originally work, which had previously been ignored. 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 associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. 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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