The surname of VAN GILDER is of German, Dutch and Jewish origin. It was a habitation name from the Northern German town of GELDERN, or from the Dutch province of GELDERLAND, earlier GELER and GELRE. Both places get their names from what may be an ancient description of marshland. It was also a German occupational name for a town crier, derived from the Old German word GELLER meaning to shout and yell. As a Jewish name it was applied as a nickname for a man with red-hair, from the Yiddish GEL (red-headed), or for a man with light hair and a sallow complexion. The name has numerous variant spellings which include GELLERMAN, GELDERMAN, GELLERT, GELER, VAN GELDER, GELDERLAND, GELBSTEIN and GELBWACHS to include but a few. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. 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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