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

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

The German state of Prussia, which reached the zenith of its power in the late 19th century, is the glorious birthplace of the distinguished surname Merck. In the medieval era, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the German lands were inhabited by a variety of barbarian tribes. The borders of the barbarian kingdoms changed frequently, but the region that became known in Prussia was roughly divided between the areas of Brandenburg-Prussia, West Prussia, and East Prussia. The colorful history of Brandenburg-Prussia, provides a glimpse at the oldest origins of the Merck family.

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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 Merck include Mark, Marck, Marcker, Marckert, Marquart, Marquard, Marque, Markert, Marker, Marcart, Marcard, Marquart, Marquard and many more.

First found in Prussia, where this family name became a prominent contributor to the development of the district from ancient times. Always prominent in social affairs, the name became an integral part of that turbulent region as it emerged to form alliances with other families within the feudal system.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merck research. Another 405 words(29 lines of text) covering the years 1786, 1361, 1819, 1724, 1807, 1409, 1397, 1400, 1397, 1397, 1398, 1399, 1400, 1408, 1559 and 1485 are included under the topic Early Merck History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 319 words(23 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merck Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The state of Prussia was a great influence on the shape of modern Germany. After the Second World War, Prussia's land was divided among the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany and West Germany and the state was abolished. Some Prussians remained in those countries after the war, while many others migrated to North America in search of a new start. Philadelphia was their primary point of entry to the United States, after which many of them moved on to Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. A large number of Prussians also migrated to Ontario and the prairie provinces as United Empire Loyalists. Analysis of immigration records has shown some of the first Mercks to arrive in North America, and among them were:

Merck Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Hans Conrad Merck, aged 5, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1735
  • Hendryk Merck, aged 19, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1735
  • Killian Merck, aged 16, landed in Pennsylvania in 1735
  • John Henry Merck, who arrived in New York, NY in 1750

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  • George Wilhelm Herman Emanuel Merck (1894-1957), German president of Merck & Co. from 1925 to 1950
  • Freiherr Ernst Merck (1811-1863), German businessman and politician
  • Johann Heinrich Merck (1741-1791), German author and critic
  • Heinrich Emanuel Merck (1794-1855), German apothecary whose descendants are the founders of Merck and Company
  • William Rudolph Henry Merck (1852-1925), served as the British Chief Commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province of British India from 1909 to 1910


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fortitudine et fidelitate
Motto Translation: By fortitude and fidelity.

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  1. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Journeys German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  4. Garland, Mary and Henry Garland Editions. Oxford Companion To German Literature 3rd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. (ISBN 0198158963).
  5. Göbel, Otto. Niederdeutsche Familiennamen der Gegenwart Wolfshagen-Schäbentz. Franz: Westphal, 1936. Print.
  6. Schenk, Trudy. Wuerttemberg Emigration Index Volume I-VIII. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Inc., 1986. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Tobler-Meyer, Wilhelm. Familiennamen der Ostschweiz. Zürich: 1894. Print.
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The Merck Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Merck 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 18 July 2013 at 13:31.

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