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

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

The distinguished German surname Zabel is derived from the Middle High German word "zabel," meaning "board game." The name may have been bestowed as a nickname on the original bearer, who was most likely someone particularly fond of games. Alternatively, Zabel may be a variant of the surname Zobel, a name derived from the Slavic "sobel," meaning "sable fur." In this instance, the name would have been initially borne by a fur trader.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Zabel, Zobel, Tzabels, Tzabel, Zabels, Zobels and many more.

First found in the Rhineland, where it first emerged. The earliest known bearer of the name was Thid. Zabel, who lived in Cologne in 1187. The young Zabel family was instrumental during this early period, playing an important role in the development of the society of the Rhineland.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Zabel research. Another 287 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1187, 1325, 1382, 1441 and 1358 are included under the topic Early Zabel History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 25 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Zabel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Zabel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Christian Zabel and his wife Dorothea Luise Muller, "Old Lutherans" from Pomerania who sailed to New York on board the Barque Rainbow in 1843
  • Christian Zabel, aged 35, landed in New York, NY in 1843
  • Louise Zabel, aged 28, landed in New York, NY in 1843
  • Minna Zabel, aged 6, landed in New York, NY in 1843
  • William Zabel, aged 5, arrived in New York, NY in 1843


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  • Steve Zabel (b. 1948), American football player
  • Franc Zabel (b. 1968), German composer and pianist
  • Erik Zabel (b. 1970), German road bicycle racer
  • Mr. Max Zabel (1908-1937), German Navigator  from Walldorf, Germany, who worked on board the Hindenburg LZ-129 and survived the Airship Fire on May 6, 1937


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  1. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
  3. Strassburger, Ralph B. German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  4. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
  5. Bahlow, Hans. Abhandlungen zur Namenforschung und Buchgeschichte. 1980. Print. (ISBN 978-3768690522).
  6. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  7. Garland, Mary and Henry Garland Editions. Oxford Companion To German Literature 3rd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. (ISBN 0198158963).
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 13 November 2014 at 16:21.

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