This is a locational surname of Dutch-German origins, but with an American spelling. Both Dutch and German languages share the same medieval origins, and surnames often become confused in their spellings particularly when far from their origin source. However spelt with the distinctive 'Von or Van', meaning 'from' or 'of', the surname implying land and estate ownership, and as such was the mark of aristocracy in centuries past. The name probably derives from the city of Emden in Germany, a coat of arms being granted to the Van Emden family of Brabant, a province of the Netherlands. There are also minor villages called Emeten or Emmeten, which may have some claim on the surname origin. The meaning is more obscure but is probably 'the homestead (tun) of Emme', this being a pre 7th century male personal name from the Friesland region of North Germany. Early recordings include Johannes Empten, christened at St. Panteleon's church, Roxel, Westfalen, Germany, on June 15th 1730, and Mattheus Empten, who married Anna Maria Hagemanns at Pfalz, Bayern, on December 31st 1746. The coat of arms has the blazon of three red hearts on a gold field, the sign of a person with (literally) - a heart of gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Phillipus Reinardus Von Empten, which was dated September 29th 1721, a witness at Koblenz Stadt, Rheinland, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Charles 1V, of the German Empire, reigned 1711 - 1740. 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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