This German surname of WERKHEISER was an occupational name for someone who supervised the work of others building houses, a foreman or a man who owned his own house that was being built. In the Middle Ages the majority of the population lived in cottages or huts rather than houses, and in most cases this name probably indicates someone who had some connection with the largest and most important building of the settlement, perhaps in a religious house or simply the local 'great house'. In some cases it may indicate a 'householder' someone who owned his own dwelling as opposed to being a tenant. The name is also spelt WERKHAUSER, WERKHAUS, WERKMEISTER and WERKMAISTER. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized. A minor notable of the name was William H. WERKMEISTER, born on the 10th August, 1901. He was an Educator, and his appointments included; Faculty at the University of Nebraska (1926-53); Professor of Philisophy and Chairman of the Department (1945-53); Professor of Philosophy 1953, and Director of School of Philosophy from 1954 at the University of Southern California. He was the author of numerous books including 'Theories of Ethics' (1961) and 'The Forest of Yggdrasill'. German or Teutonic heraldry extended its sphere of influence over central Europe and spread into Scandinavia. It is most notable for its design and treatment of crests, most of which reflect the arms in the charge or tinctures (colours) or both, which is unknown in British heraldry. Teutonic Europe assembled many arms on a single shield, each bearing its corresponding crest on a helmet.
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