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

Where did the German Earnhardt family come from? 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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In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name 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 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. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  2. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Schenk, Trudy. Wuerttemberg Emigration Index Volume I-VIII. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Inc., 1986. Print.
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Jones, Henry Z. Palatine Families of New York 2 Volumes. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2001. Print. (ISBN 978-0961388829).
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 8 December 2014 at 11:37.

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