This originally Germanic personal of FREDERICK was composed of the elements FRID (peace) and RIC (power) and the name has spread the world in its various forms of spelling. The name was borne by a canonized 9th century bishop of Utrecht, and was a hereditary name among the Hohrnstaufen ruling family; hence its popularity in central Europe.
Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
Frederick I (Redbeard) 1132-1190 was the Holy Roman Emperor considered one of the greatest German monarchs. He succeeded his father, Duke Frederick of Swabia in 1147, and his uncle Conrad III, as emperor in 1152. His reign was a long struggle against refractory vassals at home and the turbulent civic republics of Lombardy and the Pope in Italy. He was drowned during his last Crusade but legend says that he still sleeps in a cavern in the Kyffhauser mountains, until the need of his country shall summon him forth. Frederick II (1712-86) (The Great) engaged in wars between Austria and France and by his military talent raised Prussia to the rank of a powerful state. 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.
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