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Archiver > GEN-DE > 1997-08 > 0871574422

From: Ernest Thode< >
Subject: Re: Origin/Meaning of surname SCHWARZENEGGER
Date: 14 Aug 1997 16:00:22 GMT

Michael P. McDowell () writes:
> This is a family argument question, I'm afraid, not a family genealogy
> question: Can anyone dig into a handy reference and tell me the origin
> or translation of the Austrian/German surname SCHWARZENEGGER?
> K-Mac

The origin of the surname SCHWARZENEGGER is from a place or topographic
name Schwarzenegg. Egg means "mountain ridge," schwarz means "black, dark."
Place-name surnames are very common. Think of all the -INGER names from
place-names ending in -ingen, the -BERGER names from place-names ending in
-berg, the -BURGER names from place-names ending in -burg, and so on.

This would be analogous to several other names in Austria, Switzerland,
and Alpine areas of Bavaria, such as EMMENEGGER, HONEGGER, HABEGGER, and
some of the just plain EGGERs.

To respond to the unasked question, no, it does not mean "Black Negro"
although Neger is the German word for "Negro." Nor does it mean "black
rake", although Egge is a kind of forked tool (not sure if rake is the
correct translation). That is folk etymology, not the real origin of the name
that has been localized in a mountainous area probably near a place called
Schwarzenegg for centuries.

Folk etymology sometimes leads to false assumptions. See some of the
works on German surnames. Harry DAVIS did a popularized one, I believe.
George Fenwick JONES did one. Hans BAHLOW's is available in translation.
There are many books in German as well.

Once I falsely assumed that the surname SCHMITTHAMMER came from "Smith"
plus "Hammer." I was wrong. The origin turned out to be in an area where
there were a number of villages called "Schmidtham."

Ernest THODE
Ernest Thode, Washington County Public Library,
Marietta, OH 45750-1973


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