Vandenburgh Coat of Arms / Vandenburgh Family Crest
This surname of VANDENBURGH is of Dutch, German and French origin, a locational name 'the dweller near a rocky mountain, or beside the bank of a river'. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name in Germany is spelt as Burg. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. The name is also spelt FANDERBURG, BERGE, BERRGMAN, VAN BERGEN, BJERGE, BERLUND (hill-grove) BERGLOF (hill leaf) and BERGSTEDT (hill homestead). Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. 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 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. A notable member of the name was Arthur Hendric VANDENBERG (1884-1951) the United States Republican senator, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He studied at the university there and was elected to the senate in 1928. An isolationist before World War II, he strongly supported the formation of UNO and was delegate to the San Francisco conference to the UN Assembly from 1946.
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