This ancient and noble German surname, which includes the Dukes of Albrecht of Albrechtberg, is one of the oldest recorded. It is in origination a pre 7th century compound consisting of the elements 'Aedel' meaning 'noble' and 'beorht' - bright, or possibly shining. Perhaps not surprisingly given such a translation, the name has always been very popular and gave rise to such developments as Albert, Aubert, and in England, Albright. In fact the earliest recordings are British, and date back to one Albertus in the 1086 Domesday Book, which is several centuries earlier than the first recordings in its German homeland. The records on the continent are as a rule later and more scanty than in Britain, this is partly because of the never ending succession of wars throughout the surname period, but also because Germany did not become a unified state until 1864, when centralised bureaucracy began to require centralised records. Nethertheless we have been able to find some good examples of early recordings and these include Heini Albrecht of Degeloch, Stuttgart, in 1350, Christophorus Albrecht, christened at Koenigberg Stadt, Ostpreussen, on April 8th 1613, and Condula Albrecht who married Michael Bishcoff on March 3rd 1634 at Mittelfranken, Bayern. The coat of arms has the unusual blazon of a red field, charged with a bill-hook between two grappling irons, all proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Cuonz Albrecht, which was dated 1346, in the charters of Saulgau, Wirtemberg, during the reign of Emperor Louis 1V of Bavaria, 1314 - 1347. 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.