This surname of GOLDFABER was an English and German metonymic occupational name for someone who worked in gold, a refiner, jeweller or gilder. It was also a nickname for someone with bright yellow hair, with reference to the colour of metal. The Old personal name persisted into the Middle Ages as a given name. 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 in England has mainly become anglicized to Gold.
Early records of the name in England mention Adam Gold, bailiff of Montrose, 1296. Willelmus Golde of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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