This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old German origin, and derives from the Germanic title of nobility "Herzog", meaning duke, from the Old High German "herizoho", composed of "heri", army and "ziohan", to lead. The name is unlikely to refer to an actual duke himself, and was probably an occupational name for the servant of a uke, or a nickname for one who puts on the airs and graces of a duke. The surname is found most widespread among Ashkenazic people, while in the modern idiom variants of the surname include Herzog, Herzig, Hercog, and Hartzog (Germany) as well as Hertogs (Holland). There is a Dutch Ashkenazic male given name "Hartog" which means Duke. Early examples of the surname include the christening of Anna, daughter of Theobalt and Catharina Hertzog on June 8th, 1567 at Pfalz, Bayern, and Agnes Herzog married Hans Hofmann on July 28th, 1611 at Zeitz, St. Michael, Sachsen. James Barry Munnik Hertzog (1866 - 1942) was of Dutch German stock and served as a Boer General (1899 - 1902). He became an ardent champion of Boer nationalism, and founded the United South African Party (1934), and was Prime Minister of South Africa until 1939. A Coat of Arms was granted to a "Herzog" family in Bale (Basle), Switzerland, which depicts a black lion rampant holding a red label of office on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ambrosius Hertzog, which was dated March 8th, 1531, marriage to Margrett Pirlin at Mittelfranken, Nuernberg Stadt, Bayern, during the reign of Emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (1519 - 1558). Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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