This surname of NIPPER was a German occupational name for an agricultural worker who was new to the area, originally derived from the Old German NIUWE (new) and GEBURE (peasant). Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. 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 was also used by Ashkenazic Jews, apparently an adoption of the German surname (Jews were not usually agricultural workers at the time surnames were acquired). Alternatively, the name may have been taken by someone who had just built a new house, or it may have been intended to express hope for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem (from the modern German NEUBAU) meaning new building, reconstruction. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
The name has many variant spellings which include Neuber, Neubert, Neuper, Neupert, Nauber, Niebuhr, Nieber and Niper.
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