The German and Ashkenazic Jewish surname of GIGER was an occupational name for one who played the violin. The name was originally derived from the Old German word GIGA and is also spelt GEIJER. 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. There are many notables of the name who include Abraham GEIGER (1810-74) the German-Jewish scholar, born in Frankfurt. He studied at Heidelberg and Bonn, and was rabbi, successively at Wiesbaden, Breslau, Frankfurt and Berlin. He wrote on biblical criticism but his principal work was 'Das Judenthum und seine Geschicht'. Hans Wilhelm GEIGER (1882-1945) was the German physicist, born in Neustadt-an-der Haardt. He worked at Manchester, England from 1906 until 1912 and devised a counter to measure beta-ray radioactivity. He was professor at Kiel in 1925, and Tubingen in 1929. Erik Gustav GEIJER (1783-1877) was the Swedish poet and historian, born in Ransater in Varmland. He studied at Uppsala and was appointed professor of history there in 1817. A founder of the Gothic Society, his works included 'Impressions of England' (1809) and a 'History of the Swedish People' (1832-36). In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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