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 name is also spelt FUGGER, FUGGITI, FUGGITO and has been Anglicized to FUGITIVE. The name FUGGER was the name of a South German family of bankers and merchants in the early 16th century which founded lines of counts and princes. Johannes (1348-1409) was a master-weaver, who was born near Schwabmunchen, and settled in Augsburg in 1368. His second son Jacob (died.1469) carried on an extensive business, and three of his sons, extended their business to an amazing degree, married into the noblest houses, and were ennobled by the emperor Maximilian I, who mortgaged them to 10,000 gold gulden the county of Kirchberg and the lordship of Weissenhorn. The house attained the height of prosperity and influence under Charles V. when its fortunes came to rest on the sons of George (died 1506) founders of the two chief lines of the house of FUGGER. The brothers were zealous Catholics and Charles V. made them counts, invested them with the still mortgaged properties of Kirchberg and Weissenhorn and gave them the rights of princes. The FUGGERS continued to carry on their commerce, increased their immense wealth, and attained the highest posts in the empire. They possessed great libraries and art collections, maintained painters and musicians, and encouraged art and science. 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.
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