Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. There is a large group of surnames, more frequent in French, German and Italian names, which are actually a compound of nickname and patronymic. They consist of an adjective indicating size or an attractive quality as a prefix attached to a given name. HOLSHOUSER is such a name literally meaning the dweller at the house on the holt (in the wood or grove). In the Middle Ages the majority of the population lived in cottages or huts rather than houses, and in most cases this name probably indicates someone who had some connection with the largest and most important building of the settlement, either in a religious 'house' or simply the local 'great-house'. In some cases it may indicate a 'householder' someone who owned his dwelling as opposed to being a tenant. The name HOUSEL has numerous variant spellings which include HOLTAUSER, HOLZHOUSER, HOLTAUSER and HOLTZHOUSER, to name but a few.
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