This German and English surname of ARNSON was originally from a Norman personal name composed of the elements 'arn' (eagle) and 'wald' (rule). The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. The name was taken early to England by settlers where it has been angliziced to Arnold. There were places of the name, a village in the parish of Riston, County York, and a parish in County Nottingham from where the name may have been derived. Early records of the name mention Ernold Rogerus filius Ernaldi who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Stephen Arnold of the County of Kent was recorded in the year 1273. Ayelina relicta Arnold of the County of Huntingdonshire in 1273. Walter Arnald was the rector of Thelton, County Norfolk in 1409. Warin Arnold of Norwich was recorded in 1486. John Arnold and Winifred Nelham were married in London in 1611. Richard Jaggard and Eedy Arnald were married at St. Antholin, London in 1616. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.