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ROHRBACH

 

A Guide for Your Family
 History Research

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

Origins of the Surname

An Introduction

to the Surname

Source/Meaning

of the Surname

History of

the Surname

More About

Surnames

An Introduction to the Surname

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. 

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Map of European Languages

Research into the record of this ROHRBACH 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. 

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Sources and Meanings of the Surname

Source(s) and Meaning(s) of the Surname

Most modern Germanic and French 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).

Most of the modern English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh family names throughout Great Britain have originated as a result of the following circumstances: patronym or matronym, names based on the name of one's father, mother or ancestor, (Johnson, Wilson). Each is a means of conveying lineage; occupation (i.e., Carpenter, Cooper, Brewer, Mason); habitational (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.

This German surname of Rohrbach was a locational name 'one who came from Rohr' the place of the reeds, the name of several places in Germany and Austria.  There is also a Rohrbach  in the canton of Bern, Switzerland.

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History of the Surname

History of the Surname

Most Germanic Surnames from Central Europe 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.

Surnames of the British Isles as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th century. They were not in use in England or Scotland, before the Norman Conquest of 1066, and were first found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans who had adopted the custom just prior to this time.    Soon thereafter it became a mark of a generally higher socio-economic status and thus seen as disgraceful for a well-bred man to have only one name.  It was not until the middle of the 14th century that surnames became general practice among all people in the British Isles

The concept of French Surnames come from the Medieval French word 'surnom' translating as "above-or-over name," surnames or descriptive names trace their use back to 11th century France, when it first became necessary to add a second name to distinguish between individuals with the same given name. The custom of using surnames did not become common for several centuries, however.

EARLY HISTORY OF THE SURNAME

     ROHRBACH is a very old Germanic name and is one of the early names recorded in Europe.   Due to its popularity and duration this name, and its variant spellings, have traveled widely in many forms throughout Central Europe.

The Rohrbach family name first began to be used in the German state of Bavaria where the name contributed greatly to the development of an emerging nation and would later playa large role in the tribal and national conflicts of the area.  Bearers of the name branched into many houses, each playing a significant role in the local social and political affairs. Rohrbach first appeared as a place name more than one thousand years
ago; a reference to Rorbeche (now the town of Rohrbach-les-Bitche, France) was made in the year 964.  Rohrbach appeared as a family surname at roughly the same time. For instance in the year 1096 one Johann von Rohrbach was granted a Coat of Arms for his participation in one of the Crusades.  Rohrbach was taken as a surname by persons who either lived near a reedy brook or whose ancestors had come from a village or town named Rohrbach."  Many of these towns and villages are found in the southwestern German states of Baden-Würrtemberg, and the Rhineland-Palatinate.

 

VARIANT SPELLINGS AS A RESULT OF MIGRATION FROM EUROPE TO AMERICA

     This Germanic surname appeared quite early into the former British colonies of North America, especially William Penn’s Province of Pennsylvania.  One reason for this was that after the prince of the Electorate of Hanover, in Germany also became king of England in 1715, as a result German emigration to America was greatly encouraged from that time on to about 1777.  A resulting factor of this great migration is that the Seiler German name tends to be confused with the English versions due to the fact that the name from both countries is often in the same or similar spelling, which is perhaps not surprising as they share pre 7th century "Anglo-Saxon" roots.   Many of these German immigrants, particularly those with easy English equivalents, were encouraged and in some cases required to change to an English spelling.  Many persons with the Rohrbach surname changed to an English spelling having a similar sound when pronounced in English.  Also many German surnames were re-spelled in America because of the close relationship between the English and German languages.     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.   As the general level of education in America increased after the American Civil War many formerly illiterate immigrants and their descendents began to standardize the spelling of their surname. This is the basis for the emergence of the variant spelling of Silar* as found in York County, Pennsylvania.   Also after the start of World War One, Germans in the United States, in great numbers, Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. 

Some Notable Persons or Places Having This Surname

Some of the best known persons or places bearing the ROHRBACH name or its close variants are: Heidelberg-Rohrbach, a district of the city of Heidelberg in Germany;  Rohrbach, Switzerland, in the canton of Bern;  Rohrbach, Bavaria, in the district of Pfaffenhofen, Bavaria;  Rohrbach, Birkenfeld, in the district of Birkenfeld, Rhineland-Palatinate;  Rohrbach, Rhein-Hunsrück, in the district of Rhein-Hunsrück, Rhineland-Palatinate;  Rohrbach, Südliche Weinstraße, in the district Südliche Weinstraße, Rhineland-Palatinate;  Rohrbach, Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, in the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, Thuringia;  Rohrbach, Weimarer Land, in the district Weimarer Land, Thuringia; Rohrbach-lès-Bitche, Moselle, France;  Rohrbach in Oberösterreich, capital of Rohrbach (district), in Upper Austria;  Rohrbach an der Gölsen, in Lower Austria;  Rohrbach an der Lafnitz, in Styria, Austria;  Lasauvage, in the commune of Differdange, Luxembourg (Rohrbach was German name, now seldom-used);  the former aircraft company, Rohrbach Metall-Flugzeugbau;  and the German writer Paul Rohrbach (1869 - 1956).

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More About Surname Meanings & Origins

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 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.

BRITISH SURNAMES

Although the Domesday Book compiled by William the Conqueror required surnames, the use of them in the British Isles did not become fixed until the time period between 1250 and 1450.  The broad range of ethnic and linguistic roots for British surnames reflects the history of Britain as an oft-invaded land. These roots include, but are not limited to, Old English, Middle English, Old French, Old Norse, Irish, Gaelic, Celtic, Pictish, Welsh, Gaulish, Germanic, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.  Throughout the British Isles, there are basically five types of native surnames. Some surnames were derived from a man's occupation (Carpenter, Taylor, Brewer, Mason), a practice that was commonplace by the end of the 14th century.  Place names reflected a location of residence and were also commonly used (Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale) as a basis for the surname, for reasons that can be easily understood.  Nicknames that stuck also became surnames.  About one-third of all surnames in the United Kingdom are patronymic in origin, and identified the first bearer of the name by his father (or grandfather in the case of some Irish names). When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day.  Acquired ornamental names were simply made up, and had no specific reflection on the first who bore the name. They simply sounded nice, or were made up as a means of identification, generally much later than most surnames were adopted.   Source: http://www.obcgs.com/LASTNAMES.htm

FRENCH SURNAMES

Suffixes & Prefixes - While not in common use as in Italy or Sweden, some French surnames are formed by the addition of various prefixes and suffixes. A variety of French suffixes including -eau, -elet, -elin, -elle, and -elot, mean "little son of" and can be found attached to a given name to form a patronym. Prefixes of French surnames also have specific origins. The prefixes "de," "des," "du," and "le" each translate as "of" and may be found used in patronymic and geographical French surnames. Some French-Norman patronymic surnames will have the prefix "fritz," from the Old French for "son of" (Fitzgerald - son of Gerald). 

Alias Surnames or Dit Names - In some areas of France, a second surname may have been adopted in order to distinguish between different branches of the same family, especially when the families remained in the same town for generations. These alias surnames can often be found preceded by the word "dit." Sometimes an individual even adopted the dit name as the family name, and dropped the original surname. This practice was most common in France among soldiers and sailors.

Germanic Origins of French Names - As so many French surnames are derived from first names, it is important to know that many common French first names have Germanic origins, coming into fashion during German invasions into France. Therefore, having a name with Germanic origins does not necessarily mean that you have German ancestors!

Official Name Changes in France - Beginning in 1474, anyone who wished to change his name was required to get permission from the King. These official name changes can be found indexed in: Jérôme, archiviste. Dictionnaire des changements de noms de 1803 à 1956 (Dictionary of changed names from 1803 to 1956). Paris: Librairie Française, 1974.   Source: French Surname Meanings & Origins

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Variations of the Surname

Variations of
the Surname

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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 include: Rohrbach, Rohrenbacher, Rohrenbach, Rohrbacher, Rorback, Rorbach, Rorbacker, Rorenback, Rorenbacker, Rohrbech, Rohrbecher, Rohrenbech, Rohrenbecher, Rohrbeck, Rohrbecker, Rohrenbeck and many more, (as noted below). 

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.

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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 45 spelling variations of the ROHRBACH surname. 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 ROHRBACH is RRBX.  There are 20 other surnames sharing this code.

Surname

Match Score

Surname

Match Score

Rohrbech

98

Rohrbached

92

Rohrbacher

89

Rohrbachin

89

Rohrbauch

89

Rohrabache

89

Rorbach

87

Rorebach

84

Roorbach

84

Rourbach

84

Rahrbach

84

Rhorbach

84

Roarbach

84

Roerbach

84

Rohrboch

84

Rohrbecher

84

Rohrbechin

84

Rohrbagh

84

Rohrbash

84

Rohrback

83

Rohrnbach

83

Rorobach

81

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 ROHRBACH is R612.  There are 211 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

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Locations of the Surname

Locations of
the Surname

Locational Distribution of this Surname

Historical Distribution of this Surname

 

Locational 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 ROHRBACH surname is distributed within North America as well as in Europe the location of origin for this surname.      Statistics show that the country were this surname is the most highly clustered is Switzerland with approximately 158.44 persons per million of population.  The density of population in the within the United States is 13.75 persons per million of population.  The top region in the World where this surname is the most highly clustered is Espace Mittelland, Switzerland with 462.22 persons per million, and Heilbronn, Baden-Würrtemberg, Germany is the top city where this surname is found.

North America

Europe

Rohrbach - NA

Rohrbach - Europe

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

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

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Forebears

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LINKS to more websites that compute distribution maps for any surname.

·        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

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Historical Distribution of this Surname

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 ROHRBACH surname and some of its close variant spellings have been primarily extracted from either Burke’s The general armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, or Rietstap’s Armorial General.   Both books were first published in the 1860’s and revised over the next two decades.  The information therein is relevant to that period as well as earlier times as far back as 1500.   Most of the locations cited by Riestap are on the continent of Europe such as Germany, France, Switzerland, etc.       

NAME

PLACE(S)

NAME

PLACE(S)

Rohrbach

Bern, SwitzerlandStyria, Austria (2);  Saarland, GermanyRhineland-Palatinate, Germany (4); 

Baden-Württemberg, Germany (2); Thuringia, Germany (2);  Upper Austria, Austria (3);  

Burgenland, AustriaBavaria, Germany (2); 

Rohrbacher

Austria

Rorbach

Bavaria

(2) = the frequency with which this place occurs.

We recommend that you utilize our Tools for Finding Ancestral LocationsIf 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.  

LINKS to various websites that compute surname distribution maps within an historical context.

·        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

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Armorial Bearings, Mottoes & Symbols

Armorial Bearings, Mottoes & Symbols

3shieldbarMH

An Introduction to

 European Heraldry

Gallery of Images

Descriptions of the

Armorial Bearings

Motto(es) Associated

 With This Surname

Heraldry as a Family

History Research Tool

More About

Armorial Bearings

 

An Introduction To European Heraldry

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.

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Gallery of Images

Gallery of Images 

rohrbach

Rohrbach, Oberaargau

File:Rohrbachl.jpg

Rohrbach an der Lafnitz

http://www.ngw.nl/heraldrywiki/images/4/47/Rohrbach.jpg

Rohrbach (Sankt Ingbert)

http://www.ngw.nl/heraldrywiki/images/e/e0/Rohrbach.gif

Rohrbach-Steinberg

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Rohrbach-pfalz

Rohrbach, Südliche Weinstraße

Rohrbach am Gießhübel

Rohrbach am Giesshübel

File:Wappen Rohrbach (bei Saalfeld).png

Rohrbach, Saalfeld-Rudolstadt

Rohrbach-Ebron of Bavaria

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 7

Figure 8

File:Wappen Rohrbach (Weimarer Land).png

Rohrbach, Weimarer Land

80px-rohrbach Austria

Rohrbach in Oberösterreich

Rorbach Austria2 copy

Rohrbach of Bavaria 1 copy

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 11

Figure 12

Descriptions of the Armorial Bearings

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.

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Figure 1: Rohrbach in Oberaargau

The arms of Rohrbach  a municipality in the Oberaargau administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland.

These arms are based on the canting arms of the Lords of Grünenberg (Green-mountain, see Melchnau). The green mountain is known since 1594, the star was added later.

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Figure 3: Rohrbach (Sankt Ingbert)

Rohrbach is a district of the city of St. Ingbert and is located in the Saar-Palatinate  of the Saarland . 

The upper part represents both the diocese of Speyer and the Pfalz. The cross is taken from the arms of the diocese of Speyer and the colors are taken from the arms of the Pfalz. The village belonged to the Pfalz and later to Bavaria, whereas the church belonged to Speyer. The cross also symbolizes the fact that the town is on a major crossroads.  The lower part shows in the colors of Bavaria, the canting symbols Rohr (reed) and Bach (brook) and the wheel as a symbol of the metal industry in the town.

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Figure 5: Rohrbach, Südliche Weinstraße

The arms of the municipality of Rohrbach located in the Südliche Weinstraße district, of the Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

These arms incorporate the emanche* as seen in the armorial bearings of the Rohrbachs of Bavaria.

*Emanche is a design element that is confined to French and German heraldry, and appears to be a piece partitioned off from the shield by a dancetty line, but often so much exaggerated as to be like two or three piles; they may be upright or fess-wise; the indentations appear not to be always drawn uniform.

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Figure 7: Rohrbach, Saalfeld-Rudolstadt

The arms of the town of Rohrbach found within in the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, in Thuringia, Germany

Incorporated into these arms are the reeds and wavy fesse as seen on many other shield pertaining to Rohrbach.

*Wavy (also termed Undy), is a line of division that symbolizes the waves of the sea. It is found in the earliest rolls of arms, being more frequently applied to the fesse or bar.

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Figure 9: Rohrbach, Weimarer Land

Arms representing the municipality of Rohrbach in the Weimarer Land district of Thuringia, Germany. These arms have incorporated the reeds and wavy fesse indicating a stream, as seen on many other shield pertaining to Rohrbach.

*Reeds represent the just, who are said to "dwell on the riverbanks of grace." The reed is also one of the symbols of Christ's passion, as He was offered a sponge soaked in vinegar on the end of a reed. Bulrushes symbolize the multitude of faithful who lead a humble life and abide by Christian teaching. This symbol may also be granted to recall a memorable event that occurred near water where bulrushes were abundant.

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Figure 11: Rohrbacher of Austria

These armorial bearing belonged to the Counts von Rohrbacher of the Austrian Empire.

The shield had been divided quarterly. Quarters 1 and 4 contain triangles of black and gold.  Quarters two and three are gold each with a black eagle (displayed).  The crest has two helmets one with the design in quarter surrounded by wings, and the other helmet is surmounted by a black eagled displayed.

The eagle was a symbol born by men of action, occupied with high and weighty affairs. It was given to those of lofty spirit, ingenuity, speed in comprehension, and discrimination in matters of ambiguity.

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Figure 2: Rohrbach an der Lafnitz

Rohrbach an der Lafnitz is a municipality in Styria, Austria.   It is in the judicial district of Hartberg and the political district of Hartberg-Fürstenfeld.

The arms are canting, depicting the Rohr (reeds) and the Bach (brook). The carpenter's tools stand for the important wood industry.

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Figure 4: Rohrbach-Steinberg

Rohrbach-Steinberg is a municipality in the district of Graz-Umgebung in Styria, Austria.  The arms contain allusions to the history of the village.

The trident is taken from the arms of the Steinberger, a family owning land here in the Middle Ages. The two bends composed of roses were taken from another family of squires, the Ehrenfelser, who bore a simple bend. The roses were included to represent the Rosary Chapel Maria von Siege.

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Figure 6: Rohrbach am Giesshübel

Rohrbach am Gießhübel is a village that is now incorporated into Eppingen, district of Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

The silver shield contains a bishop wearing red robes and a red miter surmounted by a golden nimbus. In his right hand a green palm branch in the left hand a golden crosier. 

The subject of this coat-of-arms recognizes Rohrbach am Gießhübel‘s history as a predominately Catholic community since very early times. 

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Figure 8: Rohrbach of Bavaria

Rietstap has attributed this interesting coat-of-arms to the aristocratic family of Rohrbach (Rorbach) of the Kingdom of Bavaria in Germany.  Apparently these arms represent to joining of Rohrbach with Ebron of Wildenberg.

The shield is divided quarterly.  The 1st and 4th quarters, represent Rohrbach and are partitioned by an emanche line into black and silver.  The 2nd and 3rd quarters represent the Ebrons of Wildenberg.  Each is blue and contains two silver coins.  There are two crests. The Rohrbach crest shows a pyramidal hat surmounted by five ostrich feathers, also seen in figure 12.  The other crest signifies Ebron of Wildenberg.  It features peacock feathers between two black proboscides.

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Figure 10: Rohrbach in Oberösterreich

Rohrbach in Oberösterreich is a town and capital of the district of Rohrbach in Upper Austria, Austria. The arms were granted on March 12, 1512 by Emperor Maximilian I. The arms are green and show  some black cattail reeds (Rohrkolben) in a stream (Bach).

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Figure 12: Rohrbach of Bavaria

These armorial bearings are found as Rorbach on the  list of Bavarian noble families which is based upon the Bavarian aristocratic families named in Siebmachers Wappenbuch of 1605.

The shield is partitioned black and silver by an emanche line.  The crest features a golden pyramidal hat surmounted by three ostrich feathers one black between two silver.

Feathers are a very common charge in heraldry, which is not surprising considering that during a tournament helmets were more frequently ornamented with feathers than with family crests.

Consequently, the plume became the actual, inheritable family crest for many families. Feathers signify willing obedience and serenity of mind.  The feathers most commonly used were ostrich feathers, though on crests they can appear in many shapes and colors. 

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Mottoes of this Surname

Motto(es) Associated With This Surname

British Isles

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.   

Germany

It is unusual to find a motto associated with the coat-of-arms of a noble of the European continent especially a 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;  Ein’ feste 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.

France

French phrases adopted as mottos, have a certain air of chivalry and perhaps a distinctly feudal sense of duty and allegiance. French mottos are more indicative of the warrior culture of the Middle Ages. Some of these phrases, however, are translations of better known Latin mottos, such as Toujours fidèle for Semper fidelis. Some of these phrases are often found in Old French spelling.  Examples of some well known French mottoes are as follows: Aimez loyaulté - Love loyalty;  Boutez en avant - Push forward;  C’est la seule vertu qui donne la noblesse - Virtue alone confers nobility;  Droit à chacun - To each his right;  En Dieu est ma foy - In God is my faith;  Foy pour devoir - Faith for duty;  Garde la foy - Keep the faith;  Inébranlable - Not to be shaken;  J’ai bonne cause - I have good reason;  Loyauté sans tache - Loyalty without defect;  Maintien le droit - Support the right;  Ni dessus, ni dessous - Neither above nor below;  Oublier ne puis - I cannot forget;  Parle bien ou parle rien - Speak well or say nothing;  Rien sans Dieu - Nothing without God;  Suivez raison - Follow reason;  Tachez surpasser en vertue - Strive to surpass in virtue;  Un Dieu, un roy, un foy - One God, one king, one faith;  Veilliez et ne craignez pas - Watch and fear not.

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Heraldry as a Family History Research Tool

Using Heraldry as a Family History  Research Tool

Wondering whether you are descended of the nobility*?  Are you aware of an ancestor who held a prominent political position or had a title such as Sir, or Esquire?  If so you just might be descended from royalty.   If you are of European descent, you are probably a descendant of Charlemagne.  Once you are able to prove your line of descent from him, you will then find thousands of links to other royalty in your list of relatives.  It is rare indeed that the genealogy of a person of European descent, when traceable, doesn’t hit nobility somewhere.  And once it hits one European noble, whether you like it or not, hundreds of new names will become a part of your family.

*The nobility is a class of people who had special political and social status. Nobility is inherited or granted by the Crown as a reward to people who perform a heroic deed, achieve greatness in some endeavor, or hold a prominent government position.

 

    If you have an elementary knowledge of heraldry you may wish to use this practice to trace your founding forefather.  If you know the geographical place (country, county, city) where the family coat-of-arms was first identified, you may well search its history for the family name in question in order to find your direct ancestor.  Remember that most noble European family pedigrees have been thoroughly researched and published.   By putting together the family surname with the known location you may find a treasure trove of valuable information about your ancestors.  Upon pursing your research you should be aware of the possibility of variant spellings of the surname.  See Variations of the Surname for more information about variant spellings of the surname.

  

Many family historians who have not connected with a noble ancestor may just want to know what their family coat-of-arms looks like.  If this is the situation you must know that except for a few cases, there is really no such thing as a standard "coat of arms" for a surname.  A coat of arms 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.  As a result you are advised to seek out a coat-of-arms for the locale where your ancestor resided.

For example: we have an Arnold ancestor who is known to have emigrated to America from the town of Erlangen, in Bavaria, Germany.  Current research shows Erlangen is located in the area of Bavaria known as Middle Franconia.  Upon review of the historic locations for Arnold as noted in one source of armorial bearings we find places in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands and others.   One coat-of-arms is listed as belonging to an Arnold of Franconia, Bavaria.  As such we may conclude that this is the coat-of-arms having some relevance to our ancestor.  He may well be a blood relative of the aforementioned noble Arnold.   He or his ancestor may have been employed by or a serf of the noble Arnold family of that locale.  In some cases the name of the noble family becomes the name of the locale resulting in the ancestor appropriating it a as surname, see Sources and Meanings of the Surname to ascertain whether the surname you are interested in is a locational name.

If you are interested in the armorial bearings of a particular surname we strongly advise that you utilize the resources provided within this area of our web page.  If you have any questions or need any assistance with regard to using heraldry as a means to further or widen your family history research you are welcome to contact us, see About This Webpage.

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More About Heraldic bearings

More About Armorial Bearings

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.   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. 

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 Torse – The 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.

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Searching for more information about heraldry? Click on the button at the  right to look at our webpage featuring links   to   websites   with  

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a wide variety of arms, crests, and badges.  They may also feature additional heraldry resources as noted in the accompanying descriptions.

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·             Our Surname Locator And Resources web page contains the following: (1) links that will take you to an updated listing of all surnames as posted in our three databases at the Rootsweb WorldConnect Project; (2) the Surname List Finder a tool that finds sound-alike matches for a given surname from among RootsWeb's thousands of surname lists; (3) the Soundex Converter that can be used to find the soundex code for a surname, plus other surnames/spellings sharing the same soundex code;  (4) Surname Message Boards the world's largest online genealogy community with over 17 Million posts on more than 161,000 boards; (5) Surname Mailing Lists of all surnames having mailing lists at RootsWeb, as well as topics that include (6) Surname Heraldry, and  (7) Mapping a Surname. 

·              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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Our Ancestral Lineage

 

ROHRBACH

 

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Ancestral Locations

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Family History

Family History

Only person presently known of this family lineage is Anna Rohrbach.  Anna was born circa 1555 in the village of Wahlern, in Switzerland.  By 1575 she had married Michel Portner also a native of Wahlern.  Anne bore at least eight children over the next fifteen years.  It is most probable that Anne lived her entire life at Wahlern.  Our family descendency continued through her son Jermias Portner.  Jeremias was born at Wahlren in 1580. 

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Ancestral Lineage

Ancestral Lineage

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Additional information about the persons in our database  as   well  as   a   complete  listing   of

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individuals with this surname may be reviewed by clicking on this LINK.

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DESCENDANT REGISTER

Generation 1

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ANNA1 ROHRBACH was born about 1555 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland. She married MICHEL PORTNER. He was born about 1551 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland.

 

Michel Portner and Anna Rohrbach had the following children:

 

i.        ULRICH2 PORTNER was born on 07 Jul 1575 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland.

 

ii.      PETER PORTNER was born on 22 Feb 1579 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland.

 

iii.     JEREMIAS PORTNER was born on 04 Dec 1580 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland. He died after 1623 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland. He married Elizabeth Zandt before 1623 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland. She was born on 17 Nov 1606 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland. She died after 1623 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland.

 

iv.     MICHEL PORTNER was born on 30 Sep 1582 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland.

 

v.      ELSI PORTNER was born on 17 Jul 1586 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland.

 

vi.     HANS PORTNER was born on 17 Jul 1586 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland.

 

vii.   ULI PORTNER was born on 05 May 1588 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland.

 

viii.  HANS PORTNER was born on 22 Feb 1590 in Wahlern, Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland.

Source Citations

The find the source citation for any of the information presented

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The WorldConnect Project continues to grow, as it now contains several hundred million records thus it offers researchers the single largest collection of family trees on the Internet.

Use this free genealogy site to help you get the best genealogy searches from Google™ by using your family tree, for your research. It will create a series of different searches using tips or "tricks"

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that will likely improve your results. The different searches will give you many different ways of using Google and the Internet to find ancestry information about this or any other Surname. 

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Source documents

Source
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The documents contained within this “Source Documents Archives” have been located during our research of this family, and used as evidence to prove many of the facts contained within the database of this family’s record.   We have source documents related to the following persons within our database with this surname.

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     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 that does not cite a copyright.  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 web-page.

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Migration routes

Migrations of the
American Family

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       Tracing our own family’s paths of migration can prove crucial in identifying previous generations and eventually, figuring out where and how they arrived in the “New World” as well as where they eventually settled.  Knowing the network of trails American pioneers traveled can help you guess where to start looking.  The trail map(s) provided below may assist you in understanding the routes that our direct ancestors of this family may have taken to find new homes and opportunities in the vast area now encompassed by the United States.

      During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Europeans made the perilous ocean voyage to America.  For many it was an escape from economic hardship and religious persecution.  For most it was an opportunity 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 ROHRBACH, or one of its variants, as arriving in North America between the 17th and 20th centuries.  Some of these immigrants were: Johann Heinrich Rohrbach, who came to Carolina and/or Pennsylvania in 1709; Jacob Rorbach came to Philadelphia in 1739; Jacob Rorback to Maryland in 1765; Peter and Mary Rohrbach, both age 36, arrived at New York from Germany in 1851;  Elise Rohrbach, age 34, of Bavaria, Germany landed at New York in 1855.

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

$ Search Ancestry.com Immigration Records; or Free Ship’s Passenger lists at OliveTreeGenealogy.com

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The Development of an Historical Migration Route

It is understood that in many if not all cases we do not know exactly what routes our ancestors took as they migrated throughout the United States.   As such certain assumptions have been utilized to re-create the migration path presented above.  With regard to 18th and 19th century land routes we assume that they travelled along few trails and roads that were in existence at the time.  Research shows that a great many of these old paths and trails are today designated as U.S. Highway Routes.  For example, a major east-west route of migration known as the National Road is now U.S. Route 40, and a primary north-south migration route of the 18th century followed the Great Indian War and Trading Path is now U.S. Route 11.  In some situations the re-created migration route may travel along state routes that connect or run through the seat of a county as that populated place is probably the oldest settlement in the area. The use of water as a migration route is also likely.  For example, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries many families travelled west on the Ohio River as they moved on the new lands in Missouri or the Old Northwest Territory.  As such when applicable water routes have been included as the possible migration route.   

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Ancestral locations

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 Locations

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Researching the locations where our ancestors lived has provided us with valuable evidence needed to fill in the gaps in our family trees.  It has also led us to many interesting facts that enhance the overall picture of each family group.

Locations of Our Direct Ancestors

The names of states and counties on the following list were derived from the known places where the Direct Ancestors in the “Ancestral Lineage” (see above) were born, married, and / or died.

COUNTRY

STATE

COUNTY / SUBDIVISION

SWITZERLAND

BERNE

Schwarzenberg (Wahlren)

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ancestral family and the locations listed above.

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

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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 where their ancestors lived.

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During our research we have collected images and photographs that are of general interest to a particular family.  Some of them are presented on this website because we believe they tend to provide the reader with additional information which may aid in the understanding of our ancestors past lives.  We have images related to the following persons within our database with this surname.

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About this webpage

About This Webpage

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

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-- This webpage was last updated on --

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