This German surname of HAHN is of two-fold origin. It was a nickname for a proud or lusty person, originally derived from the Old German word HANO. It was also used as an occupational name for someone who was a chicken farmer. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. A notable member of the name was Otto HAHN (1879-1968) the German physical chemist, born in Frankfurt. After studies at Frankfurt, Marburg and Munich, he conducted researches into radioactivity. In 1928 he became director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1944. Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) was the Venezualan-born French composer, singer pianist and writer on music, born in Caracas. He became the darling of the salons and an intimate friend of Proust. His compositions included ballets, musical comedies and instrumental works. 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. German or Teutonic heraldry extended its sphere of influence over central Europe and spread into Scandinavia. It is most notable for its design and treatment of crests, most of which reflect the arms in the charge or tinctures (colours) or both, which is unknown in British heraldry. Teutonic Europe assembled many arms on a single shield, each bearing its corresponding crest on a helmet.
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