This English and German surname WESTHOFF was a topographic name for someone who lived to the west of a settlement, or a regional name for one who had migrated from further west. The name was derived from the Middle English word WEST. Other spellings of the name include WESTERN, WESTREN, WESTMAN, WESTER, WESTERMAN, WESTERLING, WESTRA, WESTERBERG (western hill), WESTERDAHL (western valley), WESTERLIND (western lime), WESTERLUND (western grove) and WESTERMARK (western land), to name but a few. 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. An early record of the name includes Henry WESTERHOFF of Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who was the proprietor of silk mills there circa. 1890. 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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