The German surname of WALDORF is a habitation name from at least three places all from the Old German elements WALD (forest) + DORF (village, settlement). Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) the German-born American fur trader and financier, founder of the America Fur company, and a noted family of financiers, born in WALLDORF, near Heidelberg. He helped on his father's farm until, aged 16 he went to London and worked with his brother, a maker of musical instruments. In 1784 he sailed to the United States and invested his small capital in a fur business. He founded the settlement of Astoria in 1811. He became one of the most powerful financiers in the USA, and at his death left about 20 million dollars, and a legacy of 350,000 dollars to found a public library. John Jacob ASTOR (1864-1912) the American financier, was the great-grandson of John Jacob. He served in the Spanish-American war, and built part of the WALDORF-Astoria Hotel in New York. He was drowned with the 'Titanic'. William WALDORF ASTOR, 3rd Viscount (1907-66) was the English politician. He was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford, and sat as MP for East Fulham (1935-45) and for Wycombe (1951-52). 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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