The surname of WINEBERG was a German topographic name for someone who lived near a vineyard on a hillside, or an occupational name for someone who worked in one. The name was originally derived from the Old German word WEINBERG, composed of the elements WIN (wine) + BERC (hill). It was also a name adopted by Ashkenazic Jews. The name has numerous variant spellings which include WEINBERG, VEINBERG, WAINBERGER, VAINBERGER, WIJNBERGEN (Dutch) and WIJNBERG (Danish). Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. Notable members of the name include Jaromir WEINBERGER (1896-1967) the Czech composer. He is chiefly remembered for his opera 'Schwanda the Bagpiper' (1927). In 1938 he left Czechoslovakia and eventually settled in the USA. Capser Willard WEINBERGER, born in 1917, is the American administrator. He served as US Secretary of health, education and Welfare (1973-75), became general counsel to the Bechtel Corporation, and was secretary of defence from 1981 until 1987. 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. 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. Many immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania.
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