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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the German Eck family come from? When did the Eck family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Eck family history?

The name Eck evolved in ancient Germany in the state of Bavaria. It is a patronymic name. Patronymics are derived from the given name of the father of the bearer. Names derived from the name of the mother of the bearer, which are less common, are called metronymic names. Patronymic names were generally formed from traditional, German given names, rather than the names of saints or biblical figures, as is the custom in many other European cultures. Eck comes from the Germanic personal name Eckhart. The name Eck is a short form of this Germanic personal name, which is derived from the Old German word "ecka," which means "corner" or "edge." Thus, the original bearer of this name resided at the edge of a settlement or on the corner of a street.

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One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Eck include Eck, Ecker, Ecke, Ekker, Eker, Ekert, Ekke, Eckher, Eckherr, Echer, Eckermann and many more.

First found in Bavaria, where the family became noted for its many branches within the region, many houses acquiring a status and influence which rivaled that of the landed aristocracy. In their later history some branches were elevated to the ranks of nobility as they distinguished themselves through their contributions to the social, political, and economic developments of the nation.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Eck research. Another 229 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1103, 1108, 1486, 1543, 1760, 1792, and 1854 are included under the topic Early Eck History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 69 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Eck Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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European migration to North America began in the mid-17th century and continued unabated until the mid-20th. Many Bavarians made the long trip to escape poverty or persecution based on their religious beliefs. The chance for tenant farmers to own their own land was also a major drawing card. They settled all across the United States in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Many came to Canada also, settling in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Analysis of immigration records has shown some of the first Ecks to arrive in North America, and among them were:

Eck Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Margreth Eck, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1736
  • Henrich Eck, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743

Eck Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Eck, who arrived in North America in 1832-1849
  • Johann Eck, who arrived in New York, NY in 1847
  • George Eck, who arrived in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1850
  • Kath Eck, aged 20, arrived in America in 1853
  • Adam Eck, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1870


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  • Diana L. Eck (b. 1945), American religious scholar who is Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University
  • Donald "Don" Eck (b. 1961), American college football coach and former player
  • Thomas Woodrow Eck (1914-1988), American football player and coach
  • Armin Eck (b. 1964), German football coach and a former player
  • Gary Eck, Australian comedian and actor


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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  3. Nied, Edmund. Fraenkische Familiennamen urkundlich gesammelt und sprachlich gedeutet. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933. Print.
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Strassburger, Ralph B. German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  6. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmacher's Grosses Wappenbuch 35 Volumes. Germany: Bauer & Raspe. Print.
  7. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  8. Hildenbrand, A.M. Wappenfibel. Handbuch der Heraldik. Neustadt an der Aisch: 1970. Print.
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 22 August 2013 at 08:01.

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