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Origins of

the Surname

Variations of

the Surname

Armorial Bearings,

 Symbols and Mottoes

Locations of

the Surname

Internet Resources

Our Family History



Origins of the Surname

An Introduction

to the Surname


of the Surname

History of

the Surname

More About


An Introduction to the Surname

The practice of inherited family surnames began in England and France during the late part of the 11th century.   Surnames were first utilized in the Germanic region of central Europe during the second half of the 12th century.  The custom of taking on surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northward during the Middle Ages.  It took about three hundred years for this tradition to apply to most families and become a constant part of one’s identity.        With the passing of generations and the movement of families from place to place many of the original identifying names were altered into some of the versions that we are familiar with today.  Over the centuries, most of our European ancestors accepted their surname as an unchangeable part of their lives.  Thus people rarely changed their surname.  Variations of most surnames were usually the result of an involuntary act such as when a government official wrote a name phonetically or made an error in transcription. 

Map of European Languages

Research into the record of this MILDENBERG family line indicates that the variations, meanings and history of this surname are most likely linked to that area of Europe where German linguistic traditions are commonly found. 

Sources and Meanings of the Surname


Most modern Germanic family names are a means conveying lineage.  For the most part, German surnames were developed from four major sources: (1) Patronymic & Matronymic surnames most common in northern Germany are based on a parent’s first name, such as Niklas Albrecht (Niklas son of Albrecht);  (2) occupational surnames are last names based on the person’s job or trade for example Lukas Fischer (Lukas the Fisherman);  (3) descriptive surnames are based on a unique quality or physical feature of the individual like Karl Braun (Karl with brown hair); (4) geographical surnames are derived from the location of the homestead from which the first bearer and his family lived such as Leon Meer (Leon from by the sea), or derived from the state, region, or   village of the first bearer's origin for example Paul Cullen (Paul from Koeln/Cologne).

Neither the MILDENBERG surname nor any of its variations is found in the  Dictionary of American Family Names.   The origins of the Mildenberg surname (translation: Mildenhall mountain) may have its roots in any of the German towns that have this name.   There are three such populated places in present day Germany that fit this profile.  They are: Mildenberg one of 13 districts in the urban area of Zehdenick located within in the Oberhavel district of Brandenburg, Germany;  the municipality of Miltenberg located within the district of Miltenberg in Bavaria, Germany; and Mildenberg a part of the town of Eichendorf located in the district of Dingolfing-Landau in Bavaria, Germany.

History of the Surname


Most German names have their roots in the Germanic Middle Ages.  The process of forming family names in what is present day Germany began during Middle High German period in the history of the German language from the early 12th Century to the 16th century.   The nobility and wealthy land owners were the first to begin using surnames.  Merchants and townspeople then adopted the custom, as did the rural population.  This process took two or three centuries.  In most of the Germanic States of the Holy Roman Empire, the practice of using surnames was well established by the 1500s.

Some Notable Persons or Places Having This Surname

Some of the best known bearers of the MILDENBERG name or its close variants are:  Grete Mildenberg , nee Hill, (* 1902, † after 1938 lost), German worker and politician (KPD); Leo Mildenberg (1913-2001), German-Swiss numismatist; Friedrich Mildenberger (1929-2012), German theologian; Gerhard Mildenberger (1915-1992), German prehistorian; Josef Mildenberger (1905-1959), German politician; Karl Mildenberger (* 1937), German Boxer

More About Surname Meanings & Origins


Many German names have their roots in the Germanic Middle Ages. The process of forming family names began early in the 12th Century and extended through the 16th century. All social classes and demographic strata aided in the development of names. First Names (Rufnamen) identified specific persons. Over time the first name began to be applied to the bearer's whole family.  At first through verbal usage, family names (Familiennamen) were later fixed through writing.  Until the 17th century, first names played a more important role. The earliest family names derived from the first name of the first bearer (Patronym). Later names derived from the place of dwelling and location of the homestead.  If a person of family migrated from one place to another they were identified by the place they came from.  Of more recent origin are names derived from the vocation of profession of the first bearer. These names comprise the largest group and the most easily recognizable, for they tell what the first bearer did for a living.  Another group are names derived from a physical or other characteristic of the first bearer.  Finally, there are names that tell you the state or region a first bearer and his family came from; the age old division in tribes and regions (Low German, Middle German and Upper German) is often reflected in names.

Use this LINK to find the ethnic origin and meaning of last

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Variations of the Surname

Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to unfold and expand often leading to an overwhelming number of variants.  As such one can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames because in early times, spelling in general and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized.  Later on spellings would change with the branching and movement of families. The complexity of researching records is compounded by the fact that in many cases an ancestors surname may have been misspelled.  This is especially true when searching census documents.

Spelling variations of this family name may be ascertained through the utilization of several systems developed over the years.  The most prominently known are Soundex, Metaphone, and the NameX systems.  Of the three we recommend NameX as the most accurate for family historians.

Click on the button to find the variants of this or any other surname by utilizing The Name Thesaurus a ground-breaking technology for finding Surname and Forename variants.

This useful genealogy research tool has identified 385 million variants for 5,929,000 Surnames and 26 million variants for 1,246,000 Forenames, as well as gender identification for more than 220,000 Forenames.

NameX matched 36 spelling variations of this family name. The top 22 are:

Metaphone is a phonetic algorithm, first published in 1990, for indexing words by their English pronunciation.  It fundamentally improves on the Soundex algorithm by using information about variations and inconsistencies in English spelling and pronunciation to produce a more accurate encoding. Later a new version of the algorithm named Double Metaphone was created to take into account spelling peculiarities of a number of other languages. In 2009 a third version, called Metaphone 3, achieves an accuracy of approximately 99% for English words, non-English words familiar to Americans, and first names and family names commonly found in the U.S.  The Metaphone Code for MILDENBERG is MLTNBRK.  There are 11 other surnames sharing this code.


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The Soundex System was developed in an effort to assist with identifying spelling variations for a given surname. Soundex is a method of indexing names in the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Census, and can aid genealogists in their research.  

The Soundex Code for MILDENBERG is M435.  There are 1,716 other surnames sharing this Code. 

If The Name Thesaurus doesn’t adequately address the name you are looking for check out the following link:

Top 10 Tips for Finding Alternative Surname Spellings & Variations

Searching for more Information about this and other surnames?

Use LINK button to view our Surname Locator & Resources page.

Locations of the Surname

Locational Distribution of this Surname

Historical Distribution of this Surname


Locational Distribution of This Surname

Knowing the geographical areas where the surname you are researching is clustered and distributed is an indispensable tool in deciding where to focus your research.  We believe that the “Public Profiler” website will open up to you a wide range of solutions which implement current research in spatial analysis.  This site provides an array of local spatial information tools useful to the genealogist. 

The information presented herein shows where the MILDENBERG surname is distributed within North America as well as in Germany the probable country of origin of this family.      Statistics show that there are approximately 0.91 persons per million of population with this surname, within Germany, and 0.44 persons per million of population within the United States.   The Netherlands is found to be the country in the world where this surname is the most highly clustered having approximately 1.07 persons per million of population.  The top region in the World where this surname is the most highly clustered is Washington, D.C., U.S.A. with  5.23 persons per million, and Aidlingen, Baden-Württemberg  is the top city where this surname is found.



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Click on the LINK to the right to see more information about the World distribution of a surname.  You can

get greater detail for any of the following maps by clicking on the area, i.e state, county that you are interested in.

·        Database of Surnames in the Netherlands

·        Database of Surnames in Belgium

·        Names Distribution in France

·        Map of the surname: Austria

·        Distribution of Surnames in Spain

·        Map of the Surname: Switzerland

·        Distribution of Surnames in Italy

Historical Distribution of this Surname

The main value in historical surname distribution databases and maps is that they enable genealogists to pinpoint the predominant location of a surname. This can quickly narrow down your search for a BDM certificate.  Knowing where to look is half the battle to finding ancestry records; if you can narrow down the search field it can save you a lot of time and trouble.  The core of historical surname distribution is that most people stayed within a fairly close locale.  Concentrations of surnames are clearly visible on Surname Distribution Maps, and name distribution tables (along with an atlas) make it quite likely that the origin of that name is from the area of its highest concentration.

The following “historical locations” for the MILDENBERG and some of its close variant spellings.











Zehdenich, Brandenburg




For additional information about these places we recommend that you utilize our Tools for Finding Ancestral Locations.  If you have an elementary knowledge of heraldry you may wish to use this practice to trace your founding forefather.  For more information about this approach to seeking out your ancestral locations see our Using Heraldry as a Family History Research Tool.  

·        Great Britain Family Names - 1881 Census

·        England and Wales: 1891 Census

·        Scotland: 1891 Census

·        Distribution of surnames in Ireland in 1890

·        Family Name Distribution in Germany: 1942

·        Nom de famille en France: 1891-1915; 1916-40; 1941-65; 1966-90

·        United States: 1920

Armorial Bearings, Mottoes & Symbols

An Introduction to

 European Heraldry

Gallery of Images

Descriptions of the

Armorial Bearings

Motto(es) of this Surname

Heraldry as a Family

History Research Tool

More About

Armorial Bearings


An Introduction To European Heraldry

The seeds of heraldic structure in personal identification can be detected in the account in a contemporary chronicle of Henry I of England, on the occasion of his knighting his son-in-law Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, in 1127. He placed to hang around his neck a shield painted with golden lions. The funerary enamel of Geoffrey (died 1151), dressed in blue and gold and bearing his blue shield emblazoned with gold lions, is the first recorded depiction of a coat of arms.

       By the middle of the 12th century,  coats of arms were being inherited by the children of armigers (persons entitled to use a coat of arms) across Europe. Between 1135 and 1155, seals representing the generalized figure of the owner attest to the general adoption of heraldic devices in England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.  By the end of the century, heraldry appears as the sole device on seals.  In England, the practice of using marks of cadency arose to distinguish one son from another: the conventions became standardized in about 1500, and are traditionally supposed to have been devised by John Writhe.

     In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, heraldry became a highly developed discipline, regulated by professional officers of arms. As its use in jousting became obsolete, coats of arms remained popular for visually identifying a person in other ways – impressed in sealing wax on documents, carved on family tombs, and flown as a banner on country homes. The first work of heraldic jurisprudence, De Insigniis et Armis, was written in the 1350s by Bartolus de Saxoferrato, a professor of law at the University of Padua.

    In the Germanic areas of Central Europe heraldry spread to the German burgher class in the 13th century, and even some peasants used arms in the 14th century.  A German coat of arms is usually referred to by any of the following terms; Wappen, Familienwappen, Blasonierung, Heraldik, or Wappenschablonen.

     In the British Isles the College of Arms, (founded in 1483), is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.  In Scottish heraldry, the Lord Lyon King of Arms in the Act of 1672 is empowered to grant arms to "vertuous [virtuous] and well deserving persons."

     Although heraldry in France and the lowlands of Belguim and Holland had a considerable history, like England, existing from the eleventh century, such formality has largely died out in these locations. The role of the herald (héraut) in France declined in the seventeenth century.  Many of the terms in international heraldry come from French.

Gallery of Images

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Descriptions of the Armorial Bearings

Heraldry symbols such as the colors, lines and shapes found on coats-of-arms are generally referred to as charges.  Although there is some debate over whether or not the charges have any universal symbolism many persons do believe they may represent an idea or skill of the person who originally had the armorial bearings created.  If this assumption has any validity charges may provide clues to early family history of that person.  The associated armorial bearings for this surname and close variant spellings are recorded in Burke’s General Armoire and Rietstap’s Armorial General.  The additional information, presented below, is offered with regard to the armorial bearings depicted above.

Figure 1: City of Miltenberg, Bavaria

Figure 2: District of Miltenburg, Bavaria

These are the arms for the city of Miltenberg. Miltenberg is the capital city of the district of Miltenberg, in the German state of Bavaria.  Miltenberg probably became a city in the 13th century. The first known seal dates from 1308 and shows the patron saint of the diocese of Mainz, St. Martin, sitting on a throne and holding a stick and book. All later seals show the present picture, the patron saint with a small shield with the letter M, the initial of the town. Besides the seals there are two descriptions and pictures of the 17th century where the arms show the wheels of Mainz and two letters M, placed crosswise. These arms were never used afterwards.

These are the old arms of the Bavarian district of Miltenberg.  They were granted in 1963. The arms are a combination of the river Main, the wheel of the arms of Mainz and some tools used in the sandstone quarries. The district is situated alongside the river Main and the main industries are the sandstone quarries, agriculture and forestry. The latter two are symbolized by the green color in the lower part of the arms.  A large part of the district was part of the Electorate of Mainz, namely the former municipalities of Miltenberg, Amorbach, Klingenberg and Grossheubach.

Figure 3: District of Miltenburg, Bavaria

Figure 4: Hamlet of Mildenberg

The current arms of the Bavaria district of Miltenberg were granted in 1977. The wheel is the wheel of the Electorate of Mainz, which was part of the arms of both older districts. The points are the arms of the Bishopric of Würzburg, and are here used as the arms for Franconia region. The pale is the Main river and the chief is the arms of Bayern. The region has belonged to Bavaria since 1816.

The arms of the town of Zehdenich wherein the hamlet of Mildenberg is located. This place is in the district of Oberhavel in the German state of Brandenburg.  The arms were officially granted in 1993, and Mildenberg became a part of the town in 2003. The arms are described as being cleaved by silver and red, front slit on a half red eagle with clover stem and reinforcement in gold on the back of a half gap silver lily.


Mottoes of this Surname

A motto is a word or sentence usually written upon a scroll and generally placed below the shield, but sometimes, especially in Scotland, above the crest.    Many ancient mottoes were war-cries such as the Douglas motto of “Forward.”    Many mottoes refer to the name of the bearer, for example “cole regem” for Coleridge.   In general most mottoes convey a sentiment, hope, or determination, such as the Cotter motto “Dum spiro spero” where the meaning is “While I have breath I hope“.     Mottoes are often used by several successive generations, but may be changed at any time by the grantee. The languages most in use are Latin, French, and English.  Exceptions are seen in Scotland where they are often in the old Lowland dialect, and in Wales, often in the language of the principality.   

There are no known mottoes associated with the MILDENBERG surname or its close variant spellings. It is unusual to find a motto associated with the coat-of-arms of a noble German family.  This does not necessarily mean that the Germanic culture is devoid of mottos.  For example, the national motto of Germany is “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit”, meaning Unity and Justice and Freedom.  The German word for motto is “Wahlspruch.”   Some of the more well known German mottoes are as follows: Alte Wunden bluten leicht Old wounds readily bleed anew;    Blut und Eisen Blood and iron;  Das beste is gut genug The best is good enough;  Einfeste Burg is unser Gott Our God is a strong tower of defense;  Ewigkeit Eternity;  Für Gott und Iht All for God and her;  Gott is überall God is over all;  Gott mit uns God is with us;  Ich dien I serve;  Krieg War;  Mehr Licht! More light!;  Nichts zoviel Nothing in excess;  Prosit! Good luck!;    Vaterland Fatherland;  Vertrau’ auf Gott Put your trust in God;  Vorwärts! Forward!;        Zu dienen At your service.