The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This Monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. This German and English surname of HOFF was of various origins. It was a name which was applied to a dweller in a courtyard or fenced-in place; one who came from HOF (farm) the name of several small places in Germany; or from HOFF (heathen temple) in Westmorland, Scotland. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. A great number of immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity. The earliest of the name on record appears to be HOFES (without surname) who was recorded in Westmorland in the year 1160, and HOF (without surname) was documented in Cheshire in the year 1200. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. A notable member of the name was Jacobus Henricus HOFF (1852-1911) the Dutch chemist, born in Amsterdam, a founder of physical chemistry and sterochemistry. He was educated at the University of Leiden, and became professor of chemistry at Amsterdam, Leipzig and Berlin. He won the first Nobel prize for chemistry in 1901.
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