This surname of FRIESTAD was a German and Jewish nickname, originally derived from the German word FREITAG, a translation of the Latin VENERIS (dies) or FRIJETAG (Friday). FREYA was the pagan goddess of love, sometimes considered as equivalent to the Roman Venus. Her name is akin to the Old English word FRIGAN, to make love, and ultimately to FRIEND. The German name may have denoted someone born on that day of the week or who perhaps performed his feudal service then, but the day was superstitiously considered unlucky throughout the Middle Ages, and it seems more likely that the name was given in allusion to habitual or outstanding bad luck, or to a person considered to be a bad omen. This is the commonest of the surnames drawn from days of the week. Among Jews, it seems to have been one of the group of surnames denoting days of the week that were distributed at random by government officials. The name is also spelt FREYTAG, FRIEDAG, FRIEDAY, VRYDAGH and FRIDAYE. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. A notable member of the name mentions one Georg Wilhelm Friedrich FREYTAG (1788-1861) the German orientalist, born in Luneberg. He became professor of oriental languages at Bonn in 1819. His reputation rests on his 'Lexicon Arabico-Latinum' (1830-37) and works on Arabic literature and history.
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