This famous surname is recorded throughout most of Europe and in over one hundred different spellings including Hirsch, Hirschman, Hirscel, Hirtz, Girsch, Hirshin, Girshow, Herschmann, Erszman, and many others. It is of German pre medieval origins, and describes a game hunter, specifically one who hunted or managed deer forests. It derives from the pre 7th century word 'hirsch' meaning deer, and is a surname which has been prominent in German history since the very creation of surnames in the Middle Ages. Indeed 'Hirsch' appears in over fifty other quite separate surnames including Hirschbold, Hirschleitner, Hirschgarter, and Hirschlander, as just a few examples. It is one of the earliest names recorded anywhere in the world, although initially this was as a first name only, Hirsch zu Koln, being recorded in the ancient German charters of the year 1170, with Jacobus Hirze zu Worms being recorded in the year 1304. Other early recordings taken at random from authentic rolls and charters of the medieval period are those of: Johan Hirschau of Ulbach in 1362, and Markus Hirscher of Kronstadt in 1584. The name was particularly prominent in Bavaria, which is perhaps not surprising as this region and original principality, is heavily forested and famous for its hunting. Over thirty coats of arms have been granted to nameholders in the past seven hundred years. Almost all, not surprisingly, feature a deer.
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