This surname KALT was a Swedish ornamental name originally derived from the Swedish word KJALL meaning the dweller near the source of a spring. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Norman form KELDA. It is one of the many words for natural features that were used in the formation of Swedish surnames, when they became obligatory during the 18th and 19th centuries. The name has numerous variant spellings which include KELLMAN, KELLERMANN, KALLEN, KJALLEN, KJELLEN, TJELLEN, KJELBERG, KJALLQVIST and TJELLSTROM, to name but a few. In the 17th century, so-called 'soldiers' names are found as the earliest kind of hereditary surnames in Sweden. These names were derived from vocabulary words, usually martial-sounding monosyllables such as Rapp (prompt) Rask (bold), or occasionally names of animals and birds. The names were bestowed on soldiers for administrative purposes, and no doubt in some cases derived from pre-existing nicknames. Most Swedes did not adopt hereditary surnames until a century or more later, and the patronymic system was still in use in rural areas until late in the 19th century. In the absence of evidence to the contrary it is thought that people may have adopted their surname from the area in which they lived. A notable member of the name was Francois Etienne Christophe KELLERMAN, Duke of Valmy (1735-1820) the French soldier born in Wolfsbuchweiler in Alsace. He entered the army in 1752 and served in the Seven Year's War (1756-63). In the French Revolution he was a major-general. In 1809 and 1812 he commanded the reserves on the Rhine. His son, Francois Etienne KELLERMANN (1770-1825) led the charge at the battle of Marengo in 1800. 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. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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