This Swedish surname of OSTERBERG was a topographic name for someone who lived in the eastern part of a town or settlement, or outside it to the east; it was also a regional name for one who had migrated westwards (and hence was regarded as coming from the east). The name has many variant spellings which include OHST, OEST, VAN DE OSTEN, OSTING, and OSTBERG. A notable member of this name was Raynor OSTBERG (l866-l945) Swedish architect, leader of the quest for a modern national style and a giant of early 20th century Swedish architecture. His principal and most influential building was Stockholm City Hall (l9ll-23) in which many Swedish influences combine to create not only a city hall but a national monument commanding a magnificent water-front site. His other important work is the classical Swedish Patent and Registration Office (l92l). Although his popularity declined with the rise of functionalism, he is now acknowledged as a modern master. 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. 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.
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