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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, German

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

The ancestral home of the Altman family is in the German province of Bavaria. Altman 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. The name Altman derives from the High German word "alt" which means "old," and other components which meant "servant." It is also derived from the first name Aldman, which means old man.


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 Altman include Altmann, Alltman, Altmanns, Altmanne, Alltmanne and others.

First found in Lower Bavaria, where the name is considered to have made an early contribution to the feudal society which became the backbone of early development in Europe. The name became prominent in local affairs and branched into many houses which played important roles in the savage tribal and national conflicts, as each group sought power and status in an ever-changing territorial profile.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Altman research. Another 289 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1558, 1590 and 1706 are included under the topic Early Altman History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Altman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 Altmans to arrive in North America, and among them were:

Altman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Altman, who arrived in Virginia in 1713
  • Anthon Altman, who settled in Philadelphia in 1749
  • Wilhelm Altman settled in Philadelphia in 1749
  • Christn Altman, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1753
  • Fred Altman, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1753

Altman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • S Altman, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Joseph Altman, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872
  • H Altman, who landed in Arkansas in 1888

Altman Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Simon Altman, who landed in Colorado in 1904
  • Julius Altman, who arrived in Arkansas in 1906
  • Louis Altman, who landed in Arkansas in 1906


  • Scott Douglas "Scooter" Altman (b. 1959), American former test pilot and NASA astronaut with over 1,200 hours in space
  • Benjamin Altman (1840-1913), American art collector and businessman, whose New York department store was considered one of the finest in the world
  • Robert Altman (b. 1925), American film director, whose feature films include "M*A*S*H"
  • Georges Altman (1901-1960), French journalist and resistance fighter during the second world war
  • Sidney Altman (b. 1939), Canadian molecular biologist and Yale University professor, awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1989


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  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Hopeful Journeys German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  3. Bahlow, Hans. Abhandlungen zur Namenforschung und Buchgeschichte. 1980. Print. (ISBN 978-3768690522).
  4. 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).
  5. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmachers Wappenbuch. München, Battenberg: 1975. Print.
  6. Bahlow, Hans. Mecklenburgisches Namenbüchlein Ein Führer durch Mecklenburgs Familiennamen. Rostock: Carl Hinstorffs Verlag, 1932. Print.
  7. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
  8. Tobler-Meyer, Wilhelm. Familiennamen der Ostschweiz. Zürich: 1894. Print.
  9. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Altman Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Altman 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 4 December 2014 at 11:56.

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