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

Where did the German Bennigsen family come from? What is the German Bennigsen family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bennigsen family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bennigsen family history?

The surname Bennigsen is derived from the Germanic given name Berno, which is derived from the Old German word bero, which means bear. This makes this name a patronymic surname; that is, derived from the personal name of an ancestor. Patronymic surnames arose out of the vernacular and religious given name traditions. The vernacular or regional naming tradition is the oldest and most pervasive type of patronymic surname. According to this custom, names were originally composed of vocabulary elements from the local language. Vernacular names that were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have cognates in most European languages. For example, the court of Charlemagne (742-814) was Christian and Latin-speaking, but the Frankish dialect of Old German was commonly used for personal names. Vernacular names were also widespread in Germany. As a result, many typical English and French names are of Germanic origin and have cognates in other European languages.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Benning, Benne, Benningen, Benninger, Beningene, Bennigen, Bennig, Benniger, Benigen, Benig, Beninga (East Friesland), Benningsen and many more.

First found in northern Germany, where the name was anciently associated with the tribal conflicts of the area. They declared allegiances to many nobles and princes of early history, lending their influence in struggles for power and status within the region. They branched into several houses, and their contributions were sought by many leaders in their search for power. Chronicles first mention Ludolf Benning of Stralsund in Pomerania around 1288. In Wuerttemberg, two separate towns took on the name Benningen, although their relation to any of the branches of the family is difficult to determine.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bennigsen research. Another 229 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1745 and 1813 are included under the topic Early Bennigsen History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 49 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bennigsen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Joseph Benigen, who came to Philadelphia, Pa. in 1852.

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  • Levin August Theophil Bennigsen (1745-1826), German soldier
  • Rudolf von Bennigsen (1824-1902), German politician
  • August von Bennigsen (1765-1815), Hanoverian officer


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  1. Hildenbrand, A.M. Wappenfibel. Handbuch der Heraldik. Neustadt an der Aisch: 1970. Print.
  2. 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).
  3. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  5. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmacher's Grosses Wappenbuch 35 Volumes. Germany: Bauer & Raspe. Print.
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Nied, Edmund. Fraenkische Familiennamen urkundlich gesammelt und sprachlich gedeutet. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933. Print.
  10. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  11. ...

The Bennigsen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bennigsen Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 March 2010 at 06:50.

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