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Babensee / Bevency / Bebensee
Accurate Origin of Name

A conversation with a university professor of Germanic and Old Saxon languages follows

Question from John Babensee

My family records since the 1800's indicates that "Bebensee" translates to mean "Above the sea" however, I notice that a woman in the U.S. has translated the name with reference to the words: Tremble, shake and Quake. Can you explain this?

University professor's reply

"Your meaning, above or beyond the lake is correct. Bebensee is a very old name and the name cannot be translated from a current German to English dictionary. Any reference to Bebensee with a translation of Quake Lake, or Shake, Shaking, Tremble, Trembling, is quite inaccurate and should be disregarded. Let me explain. High German, spoken in Southern Germany is being used to translate "Beben" as Shake, Tremble and Quake. High German has no relevance with your name. Shake and Treble are verbs.

The correct meaning comes from Low (Lowland) German, which was spoken in what is now Northern Germany. This was Saxon territory. The town of Bebensee in Schleswig-Holstein is north.

There is an older version of Low (Lowland) German, like Middle Low German, which is equivalent to Old Saxon. In Old Saxon, "Beben" means "Boven". Anglo Saxon is Old English wherein the meaning of "Boven" is "Above or Beyond". Thus, the meaning of "Bebensee" is above the lake (or beyond). To understand the relationship, just drop the letter "A" in the word "Above" and notice the similarity with the word "Boven".

There is also a possibility of a Frisian relationship with your name."

End of conversation

Other Bebensee families

A statement has been made by another person that the Bebensee name has been traced back to the 17th century. This may be true. There are Bebensee families in different countries so obviously there are distant and very distant relatives. For this reason, I believe that such families should rely upon actual written records of their family tree rather then heresy.

Canadian records

Andrew Christian Bebensee arrived in Canada from Schleswig-Holstein in the 1800's.

Name change

One son of Andrew Christian, "Henry" changed the spelling from Bebensee to Babensee since the pronunciation of Bebensee sounded like Babensee (in English). Henry Babensee never immigrated to Canada from the U.S.. He immigrated with his father to Canada from Schleswig-Holstein and always lived in Canada. Other sons of Andrew Christian; Augustus, Frederick and Ernest retained the name Bebensee.

Another spelling of the Babensee family

Cyrus Ernest Babensee changed his name to Bevency. His son Frederick Fisher agreed to the change however, another son, Clarence Augustus, retained the name Babensee.

Cyrus Ernest Bevency has passed on the Bevency name, as of 2002 to four generations; Frederick Fisher, Frederick George, Frederick John and Logan Dane who is the great, great, great, great grandson of Andrew Christian Bebensee.

Reason for Bebensee family leaving Schleswig-Holstein

Bebensee land was seized by Bismarck.

Town of Bebensee

The town of Bebensee in Schleswig-Holstein is a delightful community (considered a Resort Area). It sits high and dry above a large beautiful lake called "Neversdorfer See". This is why the family who originally settled there were called Bebensee. They lived above a lake called Neversdorfer See. This lake is bordered by the towns of Bebensee, Neversdorf and Leezen.

Bebensee Lake

There is no record of a Beben See in Schleswig-Holstein, (just Bebensee) for obvious reasons stated above.

There is a Bebensee lake in N.W.T. Canada however, this is because it was named as such by the Canadian government after Douglas Bebensee, a Canadian World War II hero.

Family tree

The family tree was provided to me by William Henry Babensee (deceased), a great grandson of Andrew Christian (such records from Henry Babensee's Bible). Another identical family record was provided by Garnet Walter Bebensee, elderly and living in Canada, a great grandson of Andrew Christian. The records given to me by Garnet are more detailed with respect to interesting facts such as the maiden name of Andrew Christian's wife, "Georgiana Christina Holm" and the fact that Andrew Christian was a bodyguard to the king of Denmark. His father was a nobleman and a bodyguard to the king of France. They were under Danish rule and their lands were seized by Bismarck.

Good old stories are always remembered and passed down

Garnet Bebensee and his brother Lyle both told me of happenings (Garnet just reminded me to include them) passed down by Garnet's father, David and his uncle John. Apparently, Andrew was frequently in trouble with the king. On one occasion after an incident, Andrew lost his hat when running down the street. His comment was, "It's better to lose my hat than my head."

In another event, when the king sicked his dog on Andrew, Andrew grabbed the dog and said, "Which half do you want"?


1773 - 1990

In the 18th century, Holstein was under the control of Danish kings as princes of the Holy Roman Empire. Schleswig was a sovereignty of these kings.

When succession to the Danish throne for women in Denmark as well as Schleswig was stated by King Christian VIII in the mid 19th century, German nationals in Schleswig acted with violence since they feared incorporation of Schleswig with Denmark. Later King Frederick VII, the successor to King Christian, established the unification of Schleswig with Denmark. This was followed by a revolution in Schleswig and Holstein. The Germans broke the allegiance to Denmark and took possession of both Schleswig and Holstein with the assistance of the German League.

In 1852, the Treaty of London established Denmark as the sole successor to Schleswig and Holstein. Duke Christian Augustus disowned his rights to both duchies whereupon unification with Denmark took place.

Various other conflicts followed including a war between Denmark and Prussia (allied with Austria) 1866, only later to be followed by a war between Prussia and Austria which was intended by Bismarck to result in Schleswig and Holstein becoming a province of Prussia. This was the result after the defeat of Austria.

Following World War I, Denmark received the return of Schleswig however, after World War II, Schleswig and Holstein were established as a state of reunified Germany.

Understanding Lowland Languages of Schleswig-Holstein

Low German or Saxon are Lowland Languages. Low Saxon Language is a direct descendant of Old Saxon, which is now an endangered language in Northern Germany and Eastern Netherlands.

Early territorial history

At the time of 12th century, the town of Bebensee would be located in the territory of Saxonia. In the 13th century, this territory was defined as Holstein.

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