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. The word Heraldry is derived from the German HEER, (a host, an army) and HELD, (champion): the term BLASON, by which the science is denoted in French, English, Italian and German, has most probably its origin in the German word 'BLAZEN' (to blow the horn). Whenever a new knight appeared at a Tournament, the herald sounded the trumpet, and as competitors attended with closed vizors, it was his duty to explain the bearing of the shield or coat-armour belonging to each. Thus, the knowledge of the various devices and symbols was called 'Heraldry'. The Germans transmitted the word to the French, and it reached England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name is also spelt ENGELHARD, ENGALS, ENGELMAN, ENGELKING and ENGELSTEIN. An English family now called ENGLESTAD originated in Schnellenstein, Silesia, where the name is first recorded in the 14th century. They trace their descent from Francis ENGLEHART who settled in England in 1722, when he was employed as a craftsman to work on the plaster ceilings at Hampton Court. The name was originally of English, German and Dutch origin, from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements ENGEL + HARD, an extended form of ING the name of a Germanic tribe who invaded England and North Britain in the 5-6th centuries, and gave their name to England. When the first immigrants from Europe went to America, the only names current in the new land were Indian names which did not appeal to Europeans vocally, and the Indian names did not influence the surnames or Christian names already possessed by the immigrants. Mostly the immigrant could not read or write and had little or no knowledge as to the proper spelling, and their names suffered at the hands of the government officials. The early town records are full of these mis-spelt names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed.
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