This German and Jewish name of MECHLER was a regional name for someone from the province of this name in Northern Germany, or a habitation name from its capital, so called from the Middle German MEKELE (big, great) and BORCH (fortress city). The former German Royal family of this name trace their descent from Niklit, the Slav Prince of the Obotrites (died 1160) whose grandson Heinrich Borwin I was made a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire and became the Prince of Mecklenburg in 1179. 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. The name is also spelt MECHEL, MEKELE, MEIKLE and MEIKE. When traditional Jews were forced to take family names by the local bureaucracy, it was an obligation imposed from outside traditional society, and people often took the names playfully and let their imaginations run wild by choosing names which corresponded to nothing real in their world. No one alive today can remember the times when Jews took or were given family names (for most Ashkenazim this was the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th) although many remember names being changed after emigration to other countries, such as the United States and Israel in recent years. 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. The lion depicted in the crest is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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