The Dutch and German surname of VAN WAGNER was an occupational name 'the wagoner' a carter or wain-man. The name was of German origin from an agent derived from the German word WAGEN (cart). The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. 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. Other spellings of the name include VAN WAHNER, WAGNER, WAGENER, WAHNER, WEHNER, WAINER, WOINER, WAGGONER. A minor notable of the name was Evelyn Frick VAN WAGNER, the American editor, born on the 19th March, 1899. Her appointments included Librarian at the Free Public Library from 1937 until 1948. She was the assistant editor and then family news editor for the Family News, and later director of the Dakota Prairie Museum. She resided at Aberdeen, Dakota. Other notables include Richard (Willelm) WAGNER (1813-83) the German composer born in Leipzig. He was educated chiefly at Dresden. Apart from his music he was a prolific writer of letters and prose, and many editions and translations have appeared. He wrote an autobiography, 'My Life'. Otto WAGNER (1841-1917) the German economist, born in Erlangen. He was professor at Vienna, Hamburg, Freiburg and Berlin. In his numerous works he represented the historical school and supported state socialism. The Rose depicted in the arms is used as a distinction for the seventh son. The Distinction of Houses are used to distinguish the younger from the elder branches of a family, and to show from which line each is descended.
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