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Family Ancestors



Family History

Origins of the Surname

Variations of the Surname

Armorial Bearings

 & Motto(es)

Ancestral Lineage

Ancestral Locations

Source Documents

Web Resources

Family Images Gallery



Family history

Family history


Family History



My 8th great-grandmother Anna Margretha Zimmerman was born in 1653 at the town of Seeheim, which is now located within the present German state of Hesse.   Up to 1978 Seeheim was its own separate municipality; after that it became known as Seeheim-Jugenheim.   Around 1683 she married Johan Peter Wambold a native of nearby Pfungstadt  which like the aforementioned Seehiem is also located in the district of Darmstadt-Dieburg in the state of Hesse.  To this union at least 12 known off-spring were born between 1684 and 1707.  Ann Margaretha was 75 years old when she died at Zwingenberg, in the Hessen district of Bergstrasse.   Zwingenberg is located approximately 4 miles from Seeheim.  My ancestral lineage continues through her daughter Anna Elizabeth Wambold, born in 1693. 


Origins of the surname


Origins of the Surname


·       An Introduction to the Name

·       Meaning of the Name

·       History of the Name

·                           Early Immigrants to North America

·                           More About Surname Meanings & Origins


An Introduction to the Name 

         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 constant part of one’s identity. 

     With the passing of generations and the movement of families moved 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.  Research into the record of this Zimmerman family line indicates that the variations, meanings and history of this surname is most likely linked to that area of Europe where German linguistic traditions are commonly found. 


Meaning of the Name

      Most modern family names throughout Europe originated from with of the following circumstances: occupation (i.e., Carpenter, Cooper, Brewer, Mason); locational (Middleton, Sidney, or Ireland) or topographical (i.e. Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale); nicknames (i.e., Moody Freeholder, Wise, Armstrong); status (i.e. Freeman, Bond, Knight); and acquired ornamental names that were simply made up.

     Zimmerman is an Americanized or Jewish spelling of the surname Zimmermann.  Zimmermann is a German and Jewish (Ashkenazic) occupational name for a carpenter or a dealer in timber.  The name originated from the Middle High German word zimbermann that is a compound of zimber, zim(m)er meaning  ‘timber’, or ‘wood’ and the German word mann meaning ‘man’ .


History of the Name

     The German surname Zimmerman, and its variant spellings, have traveled widely in many forms throughout Europe.  First found in Prussia, where the name was closely identified in early mediaeval times with the feudal society which would become prominent throughout European history.  Zimmermann is a very early Germanic occupational surname is one of the very first recorded in that country. This is not surprising as it describes a Carpenter or a Master Carpenter, one of the most important jobs of the medieval period. These early recordings include such examples as Cunrod Zimmermanin of Tailfingen, in the charters of Balingen for the year 1200, and slightly later in 1245 Heinricus Zimbermann, in the records of Zurich, Switzerland. Other recordings include Cunrat Czimerl who was recorded at Wurttemberg in 1335, and Simon Zimmermeister at Stadt Samosch, Lublin, in 1582.

     The Zimmerman name does tend to be confused with the English versions, and particularly so in the United States where immigration from both countries was at its height in the 18th century.  In any case the name from both countries is often in the same spelling, which is perhaps not surprising as they share similar pre 7th century "Anglo-Saxon" roots. 


Early Immigrants to North America

     During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Europeans made the perilous ocean voyage to North America.  For many it was an escape from economic hardship and religious persecution.  For most it was an opportunity for to start over, own their own land, and make a better future for their descendents.  Immigration records show a number of people bearing the name of Zimmerman, or one of its variants, as arriving in North America between the 17th and 20th centuries.  Some of these immigrants were:  Maria Margaretha and her four children, who came to Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1694. Gerhard Zimmermann came to America in 1740; Elizabeth Zimerman came to Philadelphia in 1789.

     The Zimmerman surname appeared also quite early into the former British colonies of North America, especially William Penn’s colony of Pennsylvania. One reason for this was that after the kings of Hanover, Germany, also became kings of England in 1715, German emigration to America was greatly encouraged. Many of these German immigrants, particularly those with easy English equivalents, were encouraged and in some case required to change to an English spelling.       Also many German surnames were re-spelled in America because of the close relationship between the English and German languages.  In some cases Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. This was the case with many sea captains or their agents who, when making up the ships passenger lists, found it easier to use a more familiar English spelling.   After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism.  Hence it is said that many Zimmer(man)'s became recorded in the USA as Carpenter, but it is also true that many Zimmer(man)s remained Zimmer(man)s, and areas of the country remained predominently German speaking for many decades.

Use the following links to find more early immigrants with this surname:

$ Search Immigration Records; or Free Ship’s Passenger lists at


More About Surname Meanings & Origins

German Surnames

 Many German names have their roots in the Germanic middle ages. The process of forming family names began around the year 1100 and extended through 1600. 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.

Variations of the surname



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.  Spelling variations of this family name include: Zimmer, Zimmerle, Zimmerling, Zimmerman, Zimmermeister, Timmerman, Cinnerman, De Timmerman, Timmermans,  Zimmerer, Zimmermann, Zimerman, Timmer (northern Germany), Timmermann, the patronymic Zimmermanns and many others.


The complexity of researching records is compounded by the fact that in many cases an ancestors surname may also have been misspelled.  This is especially true when searching census documents. 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 Zimmerman is Z565.  Other surnames sharing this Soundex Code: ZIMMERMAN | ZIMMERMANN |


Searching for more Information about this and other surnames?

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Family coat of arms

Armorial Bearings & Motto(es)


In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armored warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.  Heraldry spread to the German burgher class in the 13th century, and even some peasants used arms in the 14th century.

Fig. 1

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Fig. 3

    There are at least 15* known associated armorial bearings for Zimmermann recorded in Reitstap’s Armorial General. The following additional information has been found regarding the coats-of-arms shown at the left:  Figure 1: arms granted to a Zimmerman of Prussia in 1786; Figure 2: coat-of-arms granted in 1629 to a Zimmerman of Bavaria; Figure 3: Zimmermann of unknown origin; Figure 4: Zimmermann arms of unknown origin it displays a  red shield with a gold fesse between a falcon holding a crampon in chief and three blue roses in the base; Figure 5: these arms were originally established in Amsterdam under the name Timmerman. They were also granted to Zimmermanns of Livonia and Estonia in 1550, Sweden in 1672, and Russia in 1778; Figure 6: This coat of arms are attributed to a Jewish Zimmerman as denoted by the  six pointed gold stars; Figure 7: coat-of-arms granted to Zimmerman of Switzerland; Figure 8: coat-of-arms granted to a Zimmermann of Fribourg;  Figure 9: same arms as in figure 8 without the mantling and crest; Figure 10: arms granted to Zimmerman of Silesia; Figure 11: this coat-of-arms exhibits a rather intricate design and is attributed to a Zimmerman of Germany; Figure 12: Zimmermann arms of unknown origin it shows a blue shield with a gold fesse between a falcon holding a crampon in chief and three red roses in the base.

     One Zimmerman family motto is known. It is “Labor ispe voluptas”.

* Reitstap, J.B., Armorial General, Volume II, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, Maryland, 1965, pages 1144-45.

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

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Fig. 10

Fig. 11

Fig. 12

A Coat of Arms is defined as a group of emblems and figures (heraldic bearings) usually arranged on and around a shield and serving as the special insignia of some person, family, or institution.  Except for a few cases, there is really no such thing as a standard "coat of arms" for a surname.  A coat of arms, more properly called an armorial achievement, armorial bearings or often just arms for short, is a design usually granted only to a single person not to an entire family or to a particular surname.  Coats of arms are inheritable property, and they generally descend to male lineal descendents of the original arms grantee.  The rules and traditions regarding Coats of Arms vary from country to country. Therefore a Coat of Arms for an English family would differ from that of a German family even when the surname is the same.  The art of designing, displaying, describing, and recording arms is called heraldry. The use of coats of arms by countries, states, provinces, towns and villages is called civic heraldry.   Some of the more prominent elements incorporated into a  coat of arms are :

Crest - The word crest is often mistakenly applied to a coat of arms.  The crest was a later development arising from the love of pageantry.  Initially the crest consisted of charges painted onto a ridge on top of the helmet.

Wreath or TorseThe torse is a twist of cloth or wreath underneath and part of a crest. Always shown as six twists, the first tincture being the tincture of the field, the second the tincture of the metal, and so on.

Mantling – The mantling is a drapery tied to the helmet above the shield. It forms a backdrop for the shield.

Helm or Helmet - The helmet or helm is situated above the shield and bears the torse and crest. The style of helmet displayed varies according to rank and social status, and these styles developed over time, in step with the development of actual military helmets.

Shield or Arms - The basis of all coats of arms.  At their simplest, arms consist of a shield with a plain field on which appears a geometrical shape or object.  The items appearing on the shield are known as charges.

Motto - The motto was originally a war cry, but later mottoes often expressed some worthy sentiment. It may appear at the top or bottom of a family coat of arms.

Direct Ancestors


Ancestral Lineage


Descendant Register

Generation 1

Anna Margretha Zimmerman-1 was born on 1653 in Seeheim-Jugenheim, Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen,Germany. She died on 1723 in Zwingenberg, Hessen, Germany. She married Johan Peter Wambold on Abt. 1683 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen,Germany. He was born on 16 Oct 1651 in Pfungstadt, Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany. He died on 1727 in Zwingenberg, Bergstrasse, Hessen, Germany.

Children of Anna Margretha Zimmerman and Johan Peter Wambold are:

                       Anna Margaretha Wambold, B: 08 Feb 1684 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


                       Jacob Wambold, B: 26 Jan 1686 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


                       Anna Wambold, B: 29 Jan 1687 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


                       Catherina Elizabeth Wambold, B: 1691 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


3.                  v.        Anna Elizabeth Wambold, B: 18 Nov 1693 in Pfungstadt, Darmstadt-Dieburg,  Hessen, Germany, D: Aft. 1737 in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, PA,  M: 26 Feb 1714/15 in Pfungstadt, Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


vi.               Johan Dalton Wambold, B: 13 Aug 1696 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


vii.             Johan Peter Wambold, B: 22 Feb 1698 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


viii.           Sophia Wambold, B: 25 Jun 1702 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


ix.               Johan Peter Wambold, B: 17 Jul 1703 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


x.                 Johan Henrich Wambold, B: 07 Sep 1704 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


xi.               Christoph Wambold, B: 20 Jan 1706 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


xii.             Elisabetha Margaretha Wambold, B: 25 Dec 1707 in Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen, Germany.


Additional information about our DIRECT ANCESTORS  as well as a complete listing of individuals with this surname may be reviewed by clicking on the following LINK.

DKPS Surname Locator

Free Genealogy Surname Search Help from Google

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Ancestral locations





Researching the locations where my ancestors lived has provided me with valuable evidence needed to fill-in the gaps in my family trees.  It has also led me to many interesting facts that enhance the overall picture of each family group.  The names of states and counties on the following list were derived from the known places where the persons in the “Direct Ancestors” list (see above) were born, married, and / or died.






Pfungstadt; Seeheim-Jugenheim;



Use this LINK to find out more about the locations listed above.



Where in the World

are My Ancestors?

Resources which enhance our knowledge of the places inhabited by our ancestors are almost as important as their names. The LINK to the left will take you to Maps, Gazetteers,   and  other  helpful   resources  that



will assist in discovering Ancestral Locations.  These web sites comprise only a small portion of what is available for researchers interested in learning more about the areas in which their ancestors lived.

Source documents




The documents and headstones contained within the “Source Documents Archives” have been located during my research of this family, and used as evidence to prove many of the facts contained within the database of this family’s record.


     Most of these documents can be considered as primary or secondary evidence.  Primary evidence is usually defined as the best available to prove the fact in question, usually in an original document or record.  Secondary evidence is in essence all that evidence which is inferior in its origin to primary evidence. That does not mean secondary evidence is always in error, but there is a greater chance of error.  Examples of this type of evidence would be a copy of an original record, or oral testimony of a record’s contents.  Published genealogies and family histories are also secondary evidence.

     Classifying evidence as either primary or secondary does not tell anything about its accuracy or ultimate value.  This is especially true of secondary evidence.  Thus it is always a good idea to ask the following questions: (1) How far removed from the original is it, (when it is a copy)?;  (2) What was the reason for the creation of the source which contains this evidence?; and (3) Who was responsible for creating this secondary evidence and what interest did they have in its accuracy?

SOURCE:  Greenwood, Val D., The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 2nd edition, Genealogical Publishing  Co., Baltimore, MD 21202, 1990, pgs. 62-63


You are welcome to download any of the documents contained within this archive.

  Should you encounter a problem obtaining a copy you may get in touch with

 us via the contact information found at the end of this page.

Use the following LINK to view the source documents pertaining to this family.


Web resources



Web Resources


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General Surname Resources

Your genealogy research of this surname can be facilitated by use of SURNAME WEB. This website links to the majority of the surname data on the web, as well as to individual family trees, origin and surname meaning if known, and many other related genealogy resources. 


SURNAME FINDER provides easy access to free and commercial resources for 1,731,359 surnames. On each surname specific "finder" page, you can search a variety of online databases all pre-programmed with your surname.


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Top Genealogical Websites - These mighty roots resources compiled by “Family Tree Magazine”, will give you the power to bust through research brick walls and find answers about your ancestors—all from your home computer.

SurnameDB Free database of surname meanings - This site SurnameDB.Com contains a large FREE to access database (almost 50,000 surnames) on the history and meaning of family last names.




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Family Images

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Contact Information



Snail Mail:

889 Dante Ct.
Mantua, NJ 08051



Snail Mail:

889 Dante Ct.
Mantua, NJ 08051