This German surname of PRECHTEL was an occupational name for a master of hunting dogs, or a nickname for one thought to resemble a hunting dog. When meat in the Middle Ages could not be kept well throughout the winter months, an important source of meat came through the game killed by the hunter, whose work was both a necessity and a pastime for the ruling classes. The British particularly were famed for their hunting dogs, and one gentleman Gaston de Foix, in France, was said to have had sixteen hundred hounds in his kennels, and six hundred horses in the stables. Favourite quarries of the nobility were the stag and the wild boar. From Germany there are many family names which denote the huntsman. Nicknames usually originated as a by-name for someone by describing their appearance, personal disposition or character but which became handed down through the ages and did not apply to their descendants.The name was derived from the Middle German word BRACKE, and other spellings of the name include BRACK, BRACKNER, BRAC, PRACK, PRACH, PRECKEL and PRECHT. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. A great number of immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity. 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.
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