Recorded in the spellings of de Rothschild, Rothchild, Rothschild and Rothchilt, this is a famous surname of Austro-German origins. It is said to have been habitational, and to originate from a house or houses which had a red shield as the doormarker, and this may well be so. Before the advent of street numbering it was the popular practice to designate a property by some form of display. In time the only properties that continued with the practise were inns and hotels. Most early recordings of the name are protestant, a few catholic, and sometimes jewish, and this multplicity of religions can cause confusion, but in fact has nothing to do with the origin. The famous banking family of Rothschild traces its origins back to a Meyer Rothschild, born in Frankfurt in 1743. As to what this family were called prior to this time is unclear, but it is almost certain that Rothschild was a name adopted by them. Prior to this date they would almost certainly have been refugees from the Turkish Empire or Middle Europe. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving German church registers of the period include: Simon Rothschild, who was christened at Bantrupe evangelical church, Lippe, on April 29th 1714, and Edmund Rothchild, christened at Burgsteirfurt katholic church, Westfalen, on July 14th 1813.
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