Research into the family name of REIDENBACH has shown that it can be traced back to Switzerland. Celts of this area were named Helvetians by the Romans who conquered this area. Between the year 300 and 500, Alemannen tribes from the north conquered the northern and eastern parts of Switzerland. The south was ruled by the Burgundians who settled in France. In the year 600 the Franks took control of Switzerland and most of this region then belonged to the Duchy of Swabia. Over the years the name changed - there have been many variations of this name which include REICH, REICHE, REICHER, REICK, REICKE, REICKER, REICHERS, RYKE, RYCKE, REICHENBACH, REIDENBADT and REICHBACH. During the Reformation, Switzerland was not affected by the religious strife that devastated most of Europe; cities such as Geneva were in the middle of the Reformation and John Calvin became prominent as a Protestant reformer, founding Protestantism. Many people of Swiss origin emigrated from there to seek their fortune in other parts of the world. In the United States they particularly populated the states of Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Texas and California. Georg Friedrich von REICHENBACH (1772-1826) was an engineer, instrument-maker and inventor, born in Durlach, Germany. He trained at the School of Army Engineers in Mannheim, and spent the next two years in England, studying the latest advances in engineering and scientific instrument making. Returning to Germany, he designed improved muskets and cannon for the Bavarian army, and in 1804 established a firm in Munich for the manufacture of precision instruments, which became famous for their high quality. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.
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