Ì Ancient History Ì|
of the Distinguished Surname
The distinguished surname
Trott can be traced back to Brandenburg, the birthplace of modern Germany. Historically known as Brandenburg-Prussia, this region was first named Brandenburg, after the Slavic chieftain seat of
Brendaburg. Brandenburg eventually expanded to incorporate the Rhineland, Westphalia, Hanover, parts of Saxony,
Pomerania, Silesia, and Hessen. The Germanic Semnonen tribe lived here, then the Slavic tribe of the
Heveler, who held this territory until the arrival of the Christian Saxons.
Bearers of the family name
Trott were found in the Prussian province of Magdeburg, where the name, derived from this family's seat Trothe near the city of
Halle, later emerged in the middle ages as one of the most powerful and famous families of the region. There is much speculation on which period the family first arouse, but nothing is certain. What can be said is that the Trothe family was one of the oldest families of this entire region and belonged to the nobility long before the first chronicles mention them. From the 13th century the surname was identified with the great social and economic evolution which made this territory a landmark contribution to the development of the nation. By the 14th century the family had established their fame and were the largest landowners of
A major aspect of research into family names is the changing spelling or pronunciations of a name throughout its history. The addition of a phrase at the beginning or end of the root name became a quite common indicator of a person's character, place of origin, or religious beliefs. In the middle ages, scribes would often record a name simply by its sound. Therefore the numerous variations of the name
Trott include Trotha, Trothe (oldest form), Tretsch, Trotte, Trotta,
Drothe, Trote, Trota, Drod, Drad, Trade, to name a few examples.
the Bear, margrave in 1184, battled the Slavic tribe of the Wenden as he drove
eastwards, naming the conquered territories, Brandenburg. In 1323, members
of the Bavarian ducal house became rulers of this area until they were replaced
by the Emperor with the Hohenzollerns, a great ruling dynasty, who made Berlin
their capital in 1486 and introduced the Reformation in 1539. The
Hohenzollerns continued their extensive programs of expansion by gaining
possession of East Prussia and West Prussia, as well as the duchy of Cleve on
the Rhine. In 1701, Frederick I crowned himself King of Prussia in the
East Prussian capital of Koenigsberg, naming his entire country Prussia, after
the Baltic Prussen, former inhabitants of the land.
During this period of change, the family name of Trott
moved to Saxony, Anhalt and Hessen, holding many interests as the population of
the family name grew in the same dimensions as the general population explosion
in the 16th century. As the size of the family broadened they established
many branches in the regions of Brandenburg, and Latvia. They moved
following their special interests in religious, military or political
occupations. They were later raised to the ranks of the nobility when the
von Teyden branch became Austrian barons in 1778. Notable figures with the
name Trott at this time were Thilo von Trotha, who was unquestionably the
most famous and important member of the family. He first served as canon
of the Magdeburg church and then became Bishop of Merseburg, a position he held
for forty six years. His story is told in the well known but not
historically accurate saga of "The Raven with the Ring".
As Prussia gained strength the rulers promoted settlement of its agricultural
and industrial regions by skilled workers and craftsmen. Prussia became a
haven for political and religious refugees, including Salzburg Protestants
fleeing from Catholic Austria, not to mention the French Huguenots. The
greatest king was Frederick II, whose reform of the civil service, the
cultivation of the land, and encouragement of industrial development made
Prussia the unifying force behind the German empire. The Prussian army
became the most feared and respected military force in Europe.
successors were defeated by Napoleon, and Prussia was divided in half.
However the Congress of Vienna in 1815 gave the rich territories of the
Rhineland and of Westphalia to Prussia. The resurgence of Prussian
strength was due to Bismarck, "the Iron Chancellor", who defeated
Austria and Denmark. By 1871, Germany was united under Prussian power in
the Franco-Prussian war. In 1919, Prussia became a state of the new Weimar
Republic, only to be incorporated into the German Democratic Republic in 1952,
after giving its lands east of the Oder river to Poland.
Throughout the centuries, many people migrated to other parts of Germany, as
well as to North America. This flow of migration to the New World began
around 1650, and continued well into the 20th century. Pockets of German
settlements include Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinios, California, and
Ohio. In Canada, German settlements centred around Ontario and the
Prairies. Settlers bearing the family name Trott
include Johann Conrad Trott, who came to Philadelphia in 1785.
In our modern period, many members of the surname Trott achieved
prominence, such as, Margarethe von Trotha, who was one of Germany's famous film
directors. One of the more famous German Trott's was Adam von Trott zu Solz, born 1909 into an aristocratic family who lived in a castle near Immshausen in the German State of Hesse close to the Trottenwald (Trott's Forest). Adam became a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University before the second World War, married, and was later involved in one of a number of plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler after which he was arrested and executed in 1944. His story is told in a book by Giles McDonagh entitled
'A Good German' whilst Adam's widow, today in her 90's, remains in a flat in Germany working to try to get a posthumous pardon for her late husband.
The oldest Coat of Arms of the family name Trott is:
On a blue shield a silver fleur-de-li and a heart.
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