At various times in history, this has been one of the most famous surnames of its day. Recorded as von Nassau, Nassau, and Nassauer, the surname is of French locational origins from the former state of Nassau, in south eastern France. For many generations this state was 'owned' by the Counts of Nassau, members of the House of Orange, the hereditary princes of Holland, who paid homage to the king of France. However the House of Nassau sided with the protestants, and over the centuries this lead to continual friction with the French court. The succession of William of Orange in 1688 to both the thrones of The Netherlands and Great Britain, and his continual wars with France, lead the French to seize Nassau. This surname is therefore locational. It can describe a member of the House of Nassau, or a person from Nassau or as Nassauer, describe a person who still lives there. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving French registers include those of Johann Ludgwig von Nassau, Count of Nasau, who married Katherine, Countess of Moers, on July 14th 1507, at Sarrewerden, Bas-Rhin, and later that of Catherine Nassau, who married Jean Henri Albrech at Freyhouse, Moselle, on January 27th 1728.
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