Recorded as Fader, Vader and Vater, this is a medieval surname but of much earlier Norse and later Germanic origins. Whilst the name literally translates as 'father', it is very unlikely that this was the original meaning. It was almost certainly a status nickname, and may have described a person who was a 'father' figure in a small community, or perhaps a religious teacher, probably not a priest. This is just possible as before the 11th century Catholic priests were allowed to marry. Like the English surname Father or Fathers, a patronymic meaning son of the father (!), or Fadder, another spelling, it originates from the Norse Viking pre 5th century word 'fadhir', a spelling which drifted down through German speaking regions as well as across the sea to England, where Anglo-Saxon was spoken. Surnames as we know them today were introduced across Northern Europe from the 12th to the 15th centuries, and many like this one, developed from unusual sources. In this case the first recording that we have is that of Reinbold Vader of Koln (Cologne), Germany, in the year 1135, whilst slightly later Roger Fader appears in the register of the abbey of Bury St Edmunds, England in 1195. The coat of arms granted in Germany has the blazon of per pale, red and gold. On the red sector an iron triangle, in the second a pair of crossed dumbells.
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