This widely distributed surname is of Germanic origin, and is either a topographical name from residence on land free from trees, or a locational name from any of the four places in Germany called Felde. The derivation is from the Old High German "feld", cognate with the Olde English pre 7th Century "feld", pasture, open country (opposed on the one hand to "aecer", cultivated soil, enclosed land, and on the other to "weald", wooded land, uncleared forest). Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages, and locational surnames were originally given to local landowners, and as a means of identification to those former inhabitants who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Baldewin an dem Felde (Frankfurt, 1345) and Ticze vom Felde (Breslau, 1390). On August 22nd 1639, Berendt Zum Felde and Geseken Benninck were married at Sankt Pankatius, Anholt, Westfalen, Germany. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Petrus in dem Velde which was dated 1280, in the "Records of Bauer zu Mengen", Germany, during the reign of Prince Rudolf 1 of Habsburg, 1273 - 1291. 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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