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

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

The name Wideman comes from the Rhineland, an ancient region of Germany. In pre-medieval times, the Germans used only one name, but later they were forced by a growing population to adopt hereditary surnames, so as to remain distinct from others using the same personal (first) name. Local names derived from place names, were often chosen. They originally indicated land ownership, and frequently carried the prefix von, meaning "of" or "from", which is often taken as an indication of aristocratic lineage. Wideman was a name for some one lived in the area that was referred to as widem which was originally derived from the German word denoting church property. Thus the estates or farms lived in by the original bearers of the surname were owned by the church. In early times the Church was the largest landowner in Europe. Many farmers and peasants alike lived on land that was considered church property.

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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 Wideman include Widmann, Widman, Widemann, Wideman, Witmann, Witman, Wittmann, Wittman, Whitman and many more.

First found in the Palatinate in the Rhineland valley, 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 many houses, and many leaders sought their support in their search for power.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wideman research. Another 398 words(28 lines of text) covering the years 1601, 1638, 1639, 1642, 1646, 1667, 1675, 1687, 1712, 1719, 1724, 1730, and 1870 are included under the topic Early Wideman History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 29 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wideman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Between the 17th and 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Europeans came to North America, and many Rhinelanders were among them. They had many various reasons for making the choice: to escape poverty and persecution, for adventure, and for the opportunity to own their own land. Ellis Island, one of the main American immigration centers, saw many settlers as they moved on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, they found homes in Ontario, and on the great plains of the Midwestern provinces. The Wideman were among of the early German families that came to North America:

Wideman Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Caspar Wideman and Christopher Wideman came to Philadelphia in 1739
  • Casper Wideman, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1739
  • Henderick Wideman, aged 20, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1743
  • Christ Wilhelm Wideman, who landed in Massachusetts in 1751
  • Christian Wideman, who arrived in New England in 1751


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  • John Edgar Wideman (b. 1941), American writer, professor, and Rhodes Scholar


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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  3. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
  6. Nied, Edmund. Fraenkische Familiennamen urkundlich gesammelt und sprachlich gedeutet. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933. Print.
  7. Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia 1733-1783 Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0806311614).
  8. Steed, Henry Wickham . The Hapsburg Monarchy. London: Constable and Company, 1919. Print.
  9. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
  10. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
  11. ...

The Wideman Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wideman 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 3 March 2011 at 13:13.

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