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Question About German Surnames


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I just came across a record involving an 18th-century German baptism Record  (sadly not the actual document - just a listing/transcription) - can someone help me understand what the Zu Handarpe means? I was following a line of Hackman/Hakman's.  Anna Margaretha is most likely an aunt of some sort.  But Herman and Cath. Agness are potential grandparents.  



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  • 4 months later...

@clueliss Are you still interested?

The link @Bethella provided is the way to go, the google translator results do not make much sense to German ears / eyes.

It looks like the original surname of these people was Hackman which could have two different meanings depending on the region. Since this was in Westphalia, the meaning „merchant“ would be more likely but „doorkeeper“ is possible as well, according to German wikipedia. 

Zu Handarpe indicates that the place Handarpe in Westphalia is the family‘s home. Since this is an old document, it can mean just that because people used the preposition zu back then meaning „from“ or „in“ while in modern German one would say aus or in

In modern German the zu would defininetely only be used as a nobiliary particle instead of using it for any family from that place.

To find out if the zu is just an old indication of the family‘s home village or indeed an indicator of nobility, one could check their parents‘ and grandparents‘ documents, that‘s if you have them. 

Is the last name Hackman constantly followed by the zu Handharpe in all documents for a few generations? Then it‘s likely a nobiliary particle.

If the zu Handharpe just surfaces every now and then or  can even be found for the first time in this generation and was not obviously acquired by marriage (someone would have „married up“ then)  it is probably just a mention of the village. 

Edited by prayawaythefundie
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19 minutes ago, clueliss said:

Thank you - I'll have to dig into this later.  

Yeah, no problem. I‘m not a geneaology expert at all but am happy to help with anything language related / original German documents if you need it. 

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And interesting about the location since that is near Westerkappeln where I've also found baptismal records and the like.  (Also looking at the map and thinking - hmmm, okay, now I know why either 23 & Me or Ancestry is telling me that the netherlands is an area my genes come from since it is next door.  )

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