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Litt Coat of Arms / Litt Family Crest

Litt Coat of Arms / Litt Family Crest

This surname LITT was a German metonymic occupational name for a chandler, originally derived from the German word LICHT (light). The name is also spelt LICHTENSTEIN, LICHTNER, LICHMAN, LIKHT, LICHTIGER and LICHTERMAN. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. 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. A notable member of this name was Martin Hinrich Carl LICHTENSTEIN, (l780 - l857) German zoologist and naturalist, born in Hamburg. He travelled extensively in South Africa as a young man as physician to the Dutch governor of the Cape of Good Hope (l802-06). He was appointed first professor of zoology at the new Berlin University in l8l0 and from l8l5 was the first director of the Berlin Zoological Museum, which he developed into one of the finest in Europe. Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse is named after him. 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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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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