The ancient German region of the Rhineland
was the original home of the ancestors of the Openheim surname. Openheim was a local
name, a type of hereditary surname that identified people by the places where they lived. Landowners were the first to use local names, and they often attached the prefix "von", meaning "of" or "from," to the surname. Often, the use of "von" was a mark of aristocratic birth. Local
names are by far the most common style of German hereditary surname. Openheim was a name for someone who lived in the region of Oppenheim
in the town of Hesse, between Mainz and Worms. Openheim is a topographic
surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation
names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties.
Early Origins of the Openheim family
The surname Openheim was first found in the Rhineland
, where the name Oppenheim was closely identified in early mediaeval times with the feudal
society that became prominent throughout Europe. The name later emerged as a noble family with great influence, having many distinguished branches that become noted for their involvement in social, economic and political affairs.
Early History of the Openheim family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Openheim research.Another 82 words (6 lines of text) covering the year 1867 is included under the topic Early Openheim History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Openheim Spelling Variations
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 Openheim include Oppenheim, Openheim, Oppennheim, Opennheim, Oppenheime, Oppenheimm, Oppenheimer and many more.
Early Notables of the Openheim family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Openheim Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Openheim family to the New World and Oceana
Hundreds of thousands of Europeans, including many Rhinelanders, made the voyage to North America between the 17th and 20th centuries. It was an escape from religious persecution and poverty and also an opportunity for people to start over and own their own land. Most landed at Ellis Island
, off New York before moving on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, and California. Some also landed in Canada and settled in Ontario, while others headed west to the prairie provinces. A study of passenger and immigration lists has shown a number of people bearing the name of Openheim, or one of its variants, reaching North America shores very early: J. Dieterich Oppenheim, who settled in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1753; H. Oppenheim, who came to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1828; B. Oppenheim, who came to San Francisco in 1851.
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