The Dutch and German surname of WIKOFF was a topographic name for someone who lived in an outlying settlement dependent on a larger village. The name was originally rendered in the Latin form VICUS and this word seems to have been used especially of an outlying dairy farm or salt works. The name is also spelt WIECK, WYCKE, WIJK and WIECKE. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized. A notable member of the name was Ralph (Walter Greystone) WYCKOFF, born in 1897, the American biophysicist, born in Geneva, New York. He studied at Cornell and worked at the Rockefeller Institute in the 1930's doing valuable work on viruses. In 1944 he developed a system, which has since been widely used. 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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