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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Nestled between the Rhine and Wesser rivers is the ancient German region of Westphalia. Westphalia, the home of the name Achenbach. In the German provinces, hereditary surnames were adopted after the 12th century, and names that were derived from localities became increasingly widespread. Local surnames originally denoted the proprietorship of the village or estate. When coupled with the German preposition von, which means from or of, local names can indicate that the initial bearer of the name was an aristocrat. However, in modern times, the preposition is frequently dropped from surnames of this type. The Achenbach family originally lived in a German town named Aachen. There were numerous towns named Aachen in Arnsberg and Wiesbaden. There was also an ancient city named Aachen, which was originally called Aix-la-Chappelle by the French, and founded by the Romans. In the 8th century, Charlemagne built his palace at Aachen and the city became the place where numerous kings and emperors were coronated. It also became a center of culture and learning. Achenbach is a habitation name, which is one of the categories of surnames that were derived from place-names. Habitation names were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.


The surname Achenbach was first found in Westphalia, 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. The name originates from the ancient city of Aachen, named Aix-la-Chappelle by the French, which was founded by the Romans. Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor, built his palace here in the 8th century, and the city was not only the place of coronation for many kings and emperors, but also a center of culture and learning.

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 Achenbach include Aachen, Achen, Achenn, Aachner, Aachener, Aken and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Achenbach research. Another 197 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 181 and 1816 are included under the topic Early Achenbach History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


Many Germans emigrated across the Atlantic to seek better lives in North Ameri ca. This great migration began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century. Resettlement was particularly attractive to those from Westphalia as a means of escape from poverty and religious persecution. For many Westphalian farmers, the chance to own one's own land was also a major incentive. The process of the widespread colonization of the United States began in 1650, when many immigrants from Germany settled in pockets in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. In Canada, German settlements centered around Ontario and the Prairie provinces. Among them:

Achenbach Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Johannes Achenbach, aged 21, landed in Pennsylvania in 1753
  • Matheus Achenbach, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1754
  • Adam Achenbach, who landed in New York, NY in 1782

Achenbach Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Achenbach, aged 35, arrived in New Orleans, La in 1848
  • Joh Kraft Achenbach, who landed in America in 1852
  • Ludwig Achenbach, who arrived in America in 1856

  • Andreas Achenbach (1815-1910), German painter
  • Timo Achenbach (b. 1982), German footballer
  • Oswald Achenbach (1827-1905), German painter
  • Joel Achenbach, American journalist

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    Other References

    1. 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).
    2. Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia 1733-1783 Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0806311614).
    3. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
    4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    7. Steed, Henry Wickham . The Hapsburg Monarchy. London: Constable and Company, 1919. Print.
    8. Tobler-Meyer, Wilhelm. Familiennamen der Ostschweiz. Zürich: 1894. Print.
    9. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
    10. Zoder, Rudolf. Familiennamen in Ostfalen. Hildesheim: Geog Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1968. Print.
    11. ...

    The Achenbach Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Achenbach 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 17 July 2014 at 16:08.

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