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

Where did the German Rauh family come from? When did the Rauh family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Rauh family history?

The ancestral home of the Rauh family is in the German province of Bavaria. Rauh 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 shaggy or unkempt person, stemming from the German word "rauch," meaning "rough, hairy." As with many early names such as this, the reference was often in jest. More likely, the origin is in reference to the smoke generated by smithies and thereby would be a trade name. The name was translated to English when the first settlers immigrated to North America, giving rise to such variations as "Smoak" or "Smoke."


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 Rauh include Raucher, Rauche, Raeuchlin, Reuchlin, Raeuchle, Rauck, Raucker, Raucke, Rauk, Rauker, Rauke, Smoak, Smoke, Ruch and many more.

First found in Bavaria, where the name was anciently associated with the tribal conflicts of the area. Literally, the name refers to the smoke generated by smithies. For instance, a smith in Zurich was known as "Meister Roeuchli," literally "Mister Smoke," around 1468. The various branches of the Rauch and Raeuchlin families declared allegiances to many nobles and princes of early history, lending their influence in struggles for power and status within the region.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rauh research. Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1455, 1522, 1740, 1743, 1745, 1808, and 1814 are included under the topic Early Rauh History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 89 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rauh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 Rauh or a variant listed above:

Rauh Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Nicolaus Rauh, who landed in New York, NY in 1709
  • Johann Michael Rauh, who arrived in Frederick County, Maryland in 1728
  • Matthias Rauh, who arrived in America in 1778

Rauh Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Anna M Rauh, aged 54, arrived in New Orleans, La in 1845
  • Christopher Rauh, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1847
  • Jos Rauh, aged 27, landed in Missouri in 1848
  • Friedrich Rauh, who arrived in America in 1857
  • George Rauh, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1879


  • Paul-Hubert Rauh (1913-2005), German Luftwaffe night fighter ace with 31 aerial victories, recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
  • Werner Rauh (1913-2000), German botanist and author



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This page was last modified on 11 September 2012 at 22:16.

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