This Czechoslovakian surname WACHTER was originally derived from the given name VACLAV, rendered in Old Czech as VECESLAV. It is composed of the elements VECE (greater) and SLAV (glory). The name was borne by a tenth century duke of Bohemia who fought against a revival of paganism in his territory and after his death became patron saint of Bohemia. The modern state of Czechoslovakia is going through a transitional phase as a result of the fall of the Iron Curtain. Its various regions encompassed the medieval provinces of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. The first two of these, where the language properly called Czech is spoken, were heavily subject to German cultural and linguistic influence from the Middle Ages onwards, being administratively a Crownland of Austria for much of the time until independence in 1918. This influence is reflected in the many Czech surnames derived from German, both from given names, and from vocabulary words. Occupational names are quite common in Czech as are nicknames, especially those referring to some physical feature. Many of the most common Czech surnames have the diminutive ending 'CEK', which is often found attached to these names. Other spellings of the name include WACHER, WACHETER, WAECHER and WAECHTER. Minor notables of the name include the husband and wife team of Elizabeth WAECHTER who was born on the 11th October, 1911. She was an Educator and her appointments have included Director of the Pearl Buck School for Retarded Children (1953); Instructor at the School of Education at the University of Oregon, and she was the co-author of 'Schools for the very Young'. Heinrich Hormuth WAECHTER, born on the 2nd October, 1907 was an Architect. His appointments have included Associated Professor and Virginia Polytechnic Institute from 1947 until 1950; University of Oregon from 1950 until 1952. He was the co-author (with his wife) of the book mentioned above. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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