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

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

The ancestral home of the Earnhardt family is in the German province of Bavaria. Earnhardt is a German nickname surname. Such names came from eke-names, or added names, that described their initial bearer through reference to a physical characteristic or other attribute. It is a name for a courageous or honorable person. The surname Earnhardt is composed of two German words meaning honor and bravery.

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Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Earnhardt include Ehrhardt, Ehrhart, Erhart, Erhard, Erhardt, Errheart, Errhart, Errhard, Errhardt, Earhart, Airhart and many more.

First found in Bavaria, where the name emerged in mediaeval times as one of the notable families of the region. From the 13th century the surname was identified with the great social and economic evolution which made this territory a landmark contributor to the development of the nation.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Earnhardt research. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1824, 1391, 1573, 1854 and 1808 are included under the topic Early Earnhardt History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 109 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Earnhardt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of German settlers came to North America between the mid-17th and mid-20th centuries. The hardships of the long voyage were balanced by the opportunity to escape poverty and religious persecution. The descendents of these settlers still populate the states of Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Many also live in Ontario and the prairie provinces of Canada. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Earnhardt or a variant listed above:

Earnhardt Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Everett Earnhardt, aged 21, who emigrated to Charlotte, N.C., in 1919

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  • Dale Earnhardt (1951-2001), American race car diver, 7-time NASCAR national champion
  • Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr., (b. 1974), American stock car racing driver and team owner, recipient of the Most Popular Driver Award ten times
  • Jeffrey Earnhardt (b. 1989), American stock car driver, grandson Dale Earnhardt
  • Ralph Lee Earnhardt (1928-1973), American NASCAR driver, father of Dale Earnhardt, Sr
  • Teresa Earnhardt (b. 1958), the third wife and widow of Dale Earnhardt, the first woman in NASCAR history to own a team


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  1. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
  2. Karlsruhe. Badisches Generallandesarchiv Baden Emigration lists 1866-1911. Salt Lake City: Microfilm of Card Index by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Print.
  3. Zoder, Rudolf. Familiennamen in Ostfalen. Hildesheim: Geog Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1968. Print.
  4. Tobler-Meyer, Wilhelm. Familiennamen der Ostschweiz. Zürich: 1894. Print.
  5. Bahlow, Hans. Mecklenburgisches Namenbüchlein Ein Führer durch Mecklenburgs Familiennamen. Rostock: Carl Hinstorffs Verlag, 1932. Print.
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Jones, Henry Z. Palatine Families of New York 2 Volumes. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2001. Print. (ISBN 978-0961388829).
  10. Strassburger, Ralph B. Pennsylvania German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  11. ...

The Earnhardt Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Earnhardt 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 6 December 2013 at 17:52.

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