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Where did the Berg coat of arms come from? When did the Berg family first arrive in the United States?

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Coat of Arms > Berg Coat of Arms

Origin Displayed: German

Origins Available: Dutch-Alt, Dutch, German, Jewish, Swedish

Spelling variations of this family name include: Berg, Bergh, Berghe, Bergg, Berge, Bergge, Burg, Burgh and many more.

First found in the Rhineland, where this family name became a prominent contributor to the development of the district from ancient times.

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Christian Berg, who settled in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1840; Jacob Berg arrived in Philadelphia in 1750; Lewis R. Berg, age 40; came to New York City in 1843.

(From www.HouseOfNames.com Archives copyright 2000 - 2009)

Suggested Readings for the name Berg
"The Hans Hanson Berg Family History" by Nancy Stout Larson, "A Line of Descendants and Ancestors of Josiah Burge (including the Berg Family) a Revolutionary Patriot" by Joan A. Hoelaars.

Some noteworthy people of the name Berg
  • Laura Berg, American softball player
  • Paul Berg (b. 1926), American molecular biologist
  • Elizabeth Berg (b. 1986), American singer with The Like, daughter of Tony Berg
  • Shelly Berg (b. 1955), American jazz pianist and educator
  • Tony Berg (b. 1954), American guitarist, father of Elizabeth Berg
  • Morris "Moe" Berg (1902-1972), American catcher and coach in Major League Baseball and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Andrea Berg (b. 1981), German volleyball player
  • Alban Berg (1885-1935), Austrian composer, born in Vienna, who studied under Arnold Schoenberg
  • Henning Berg (b. 1969), Norwegian football player
  • Adje "Adrian" van den Berg (b. 1954), Dutch rock guitarist

Learn More About German Surnames


The Thirty Years' War was a series of political and religious wars that lasted from 1618 until 1648. They were mainly caused by the political rivalry between Catholic and Protestant princes in Germany, and the interest of foreign powers in German affairs.



Vienna, the political and cultural center of Europe, was host to a conference of the major European powers at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The negotiations at the Congress of Vienna, which lasted almost nine months during 1814 and 1815, had the formidable objective of partitioning the nations of Europe in the wake of Napoleon Bonaparte's turbulent military campaign. This task was accomplished on June 8, 1815, by the Treaty of Vienna. The dominant members in the conference were the major victors of the war: Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Britain. However, delegates from a host of other powers were present, including Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Bavaria, Saxony, and the Papacy, among others. Although a defeated power, France was still a powerful one that remained capable of quickly raising a large army and consequently, it was represented at the Congress.



In 1152, the German princes elected as their king, Frederick Barbarossa, whose name means Red-Beard, and who was from the House of Hohenstaufen. Frederick considered it his mission to reconstruct the German monarchy, and aimed to harness the new feudal forces of the age to his advantage. Thus, Frederick encouraged the princes of the realm to expand their own power and privileges at the expense of lesser lords. At the same time, he forced the princes to recognize his lordship over the entire kingdom. In essence, Frederick made the ducal princes his tenants-in-chief or feudal vassals.



The movement toward German unification began in the first half of the 19th century. Once completed, its impact on the course of European history was immeasurable. The trend toward unification began with a power struggle between the two most prominent German states, Prussia and Austria, each seeking to control a unified Germany. Prussia eventually emerged victorious and became the dominant state in the unified Germany.



As far back as 500 BC, the north central region now known as Germany was once occupied by the Celts and at its northern reaches Teutonic tribes. By 113 BC, German tribes began to invade along the Mediterranean in 113 BC, the Romans started their campaigns to push these Germani back. Their efforts against the Germanic tribes included many successful campaigns under the Roman general Gaius Marius, and then later by Julius Caesar in 55 and 53 BC.



Bavaria, which was a part of the Roman Empire until the 5th century, was named after the ancient tribe of the "Bajuvaren", who settled in the region after the period of Roman occupation. In the 6th century, the German territories were inhabited by Saxons in north central Germany, East Franks along the lower Rhine, Thuringians between them, Bavarians along the middle Danube, and Swabians between the upper Rhine and Upper Danube and along the Northern Alps. In the 9th century, the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne incorporated Bavaria into his Empire despite the heroic attempts at resistance made by the Bavarian Duke Tassilo.



An area which surrounds the Rhine River, one of Germany's most vital waterways, the Rhineland is renowned for its agricultural and industrial wealth. The Rhur Valley in the North is one of the world's most heavily industrialized areas and the vineyards of Mosel in the South have produced wines that are internationally acclaimed. The "Romantic Rhineland" has been immortalized in numerous ancient folk songs and fables. The region was occupied by the Romans, who founded many of the region's beautiful and historic cities as Roman settlements. After the fall of the Roman Empire, barbarian tribes conquered the German provinces and the Franks dominated the Rhineland. Nevertheless, the Rhineland was again brought under Germanic rule when Charlemagne, the greatest of the medieval kings, brought the barbarian tribes under the central order of the Holy Roman Empire.



Westphalia, which means western plain, is the contemporary Bundesland, or state, of Nordrhein-Westfalen. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the Saxons inhabited the territories in north central Germany. Westphalia was a part of the old duchy of Saxony, which included most of the land between the Rhine and the Elbe between the 9th and 12th centuries. In the 9th century, the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne incorporated Saxony and the other German duchies into the Carolingian Empire. Charlemagne's conquest brought temporary unity to the duchies, but the collapse of the Carolingian Empire loosened these bonds of common order. Tribal consciousness and local particularism fought all centralizing influences until the late 19th century.



Considered the Charlemagne of Germany, Otto I (936-73) was only twenty-four years old at the time of his accession, but he was already a king in conduct and facility. It was through his canny state-craft and iron will that Otto I became the first Holy Roman Emperor and earned the appellation Otto the Great.



At the end of the 15th century, in the glorious period known as the Renaissance, the German states in the Holy Roman Empire lacked strong, unified central governments and local nobles or small political units fragmented political authority. Local powers, such as cities, nobles and princes, remained autonomous and prevented the Holy Roman Empire from utilizing its resources and organizing itself like the new monarchies in the other European states. At the same time, the population was rising and trade was increasing.



The Protestant Reformation was a momentous event in human history. Initially, the Reformation was a 16th century religious movement aimed at reforming abuses in the Roman Catholic Church. During the late Middle Ages, people began to express their dissatisfaction with some of the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church. In particular, many people were against the selling of indulgences, which allowed people to "buy their way out" of being punished for their sins after death.



Lower Saxony, which includes most of the land between the Rhine and the Elbe rivers and is composed of the regions of Brunswick, or Braunschweig, and Lueneburg, was originally part of the old duchy of Saxony. The duchy of Saxony was in existence between the 9th and 12th centuries.



Switzerland was originally inhabited by a Celtic population, who were named Helvetians by the Romans. Between the 3rd and 5th centuries, the Alemannen tribes swept down from the north and conquered the northern and eastern part of Switzerland. The southwestern part of Switzerland was ruled by the Burgundians, who had settled in France. In the 6th century, theFranks took control of the part of Switzerland that was part of the duchy of Swabia. The smaller south-western portion of the country remained under Burgundian domination at this time. The Burgundian Swiss spoke French, a language division that remains today.



The Teutonic Knights was a military and religious order that was founded in the late 12th century by German merchant crusaders. During the Third Crusade, in about 1190, German pilgrims to Palestine organized the Teutonic Knights for the defense of the roads to Palestine. They expanded their territories eastwards and supported their colonization by building fortresses as they moved. Except for some church territories, the Knight's Empire stretched from Prussia to Estonia on the Baltic coast. In 1198, the Teutonic Knights became an order of knights that was confined to Germans of noble birth. The style of the Order also became increasingly military. In 1229, the knights embarked on an extensive campaign in Prussia. After the conquest of this German territory, they transferred their headquarters from Transylvania (Rumania) to Prussia, where they became the armed vanguard of the German eastward expansion.



West Prussia was situated on the Vistula River, between Brandenburg-Prussia and East Prussia. Similar to East Prussia, West Prussia was originally a Prussian territory under the duchy of Pomerelien, but it was incorporated into the Empire of the Teutonic Knights, in 1309. The Teutonic Knights, whose Empire stretched to the land of Estonia to on the Baltic coast, were a military and religious order of German nobles. The knights built several fortified castles, the most famous being Marienburg which was the seat of the Knights Hochmeister, or grand master. In the Teutonic Knight's Empire, the tribes were converted to Christianity.




The German state of Silesia was named after the Silingers, who were a Germanic tribe that lived in Silesia between the 2nd and the 6th centuries. Silesia became a part of the Polish Kingdom at the end of the 11th century. In 1163, when a struggle for succession occurred, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa installed two Piast princes as the dukes of Upper and Lower Silesia. In 1335, Silesia became attached to the kingdom of Bohemia, which was part of the Holy Roman Empire. By the end of the 14th century, Silesia consisted of fourteen separate principalities and Breslau, reestablished in 1250 as a German city, became a trading center between East and West. The dukes of Silesia eventually exchanged their allegiance to Poland for that of their neighbor Bohemia, and as the Piast dynasty gradually died out, their lands became crown properties of Bohemia. As a result of its dependency on Bohemia, Silesia came under the control of the house of Hapsburg in 1526.



Swabia, which was a medieval dukedom, was located in southwestern Germany. In the 1st century, Swabia was settled by the tribe of the Sueben who came from central Germany and drove the Celts to Gaul (France). After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Germanic Alemans from the north and the Bajuvaren from the east entered the region. These tribes were in turn defeated by the Franks under Clovis in 496.



At present, Westphalia, which means western plain, is the contemporary Bundesland or state of Nordrhein-Westfalen. The state of Nordrhein-Westfalen was formed in 1945 largely from the Prussian provinces of the Rhine and Westphalia. Until the Napoleonic conquest, the area was divided among numerous small powers. After the Congress of Vienna ended the Napoleonic Wars, the region was granted to Prussia.


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