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Drakkar
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 04:24 AM
...just wondering if anyone knows or can speculate on the origin of the germanic surname Mattern of which I have. I got a coat of arms a little while ago and it was described as the crest of "Mattern von Preuss" ennobled in the early 1800s, but I'm not sure if it's the "ancient" one. My dad also has "The Book of Matterns" which shows another crest that is black and gold with 3 fleur-de-lis'. I did some research on that one, but the sites said that it was from the name "Matt" and "Matter", but not "Mattern". I'm really confused on these changes, and I'm pretty sure that my name did not change when my great grandfather came over from Germany. I'm pretty sure the name is Prussian. I would really appreciate anyone's help. :P

Appalachian
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 02:55 PM
mattern


German (especially Silesia) and Dutch: from the medieval personal name Matern, a derivative of the Roman personal name Maternus (from Latin mater ‘mother’), which was the name of a legendary saint.
Dutch: from materne ‘prioress’, hence presumably a nickname.
Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
In the US, most common in the states bordering the Great Lakes, with Pennsylvania having the highest number of Mattern families (as of the 1920 census).

The top occupation for this family as of the 1880 US census was farming, with 30% of all Matterns in the US being engaged in this occupation.

The information above, as well as additional facts, can be obtained here (http://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts/default.aspx?ln=).

Drakkar
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 11:25 PM
thanks for the info, Appalachian. Referring to the Coat Of Arms, how do I know if the one I have is accurate? So far I've seen three; The "Belgian" one that is silver (pretty sure) with a shield in the middle, the one I have (blue with a spear etc, ennobled 100s by Mattern von Preuss), and the one commonly associated with Matt and Matter families. Anyone know the oldest Mattern Coat of Arms in all of Germany?

Appalachian
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 11:40 PM
Generally speaking, a coat of arms was granted to one specific person, and the right to carry it extended only to that person's offspring and their families. Thus, not all families with the same surname are officially allowed to display that coat of arms. Indeed, most European families probably have no coat of arms, even if there is a coat of arms borne by a family with the same surname.

This is not to say that your Mattern family does not have the right to bear a coat of arms, as they very well may, but really the only way that I know of to determine this (and, for that matter, which coat of arms to bear) is to trace your line back to a specific individual who was ennobled and granted the arms.

Sorry if this is not specific enough to help you, but your best bet in figuring it all out is to collect as much info as you can from the older people in your family (elderly women are the best source of such familial data, generally speaking). Find out as much as you can about your great-grandparents, where they came from, what their full names were, any nicknames they had, who their parents were, etc.

After you've obtained this information, then start digging into genealogical records. Good places to start are familysearch.org (free) and ancestry.com (subscription). If you can trace back to an individual who was granted arms, then you'll know which arms to display. :)

If you need some help or advice on your quest into the past, feel free to ask.