The German surname Altenn emerged in the lands that formed the modern state of Lower Saxony
, which is presently bordered by the North Sea, the Hartz mountains and the Elbe and Ems rivers. Lower Saxony
was previously a medieval Saxon dukedom. The name Altenn, which is a local
surname, reveals that the original bearer of the name once lived, held land, or was born in this beautiful region of Lower Saxony
. In the Holy Roman Empire
, hereditary surnames
were adopted according to fairly general rules and after the 12th century, names that were derived from localities became increasingly widespread. Local
names 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 bearer of the name was an aristocrat. However, in modern times, the von is frequently dropped from the surname.
Early Origins of the Altenn family
The surname Altenn was first found in Brunswick, where the name was closely identified in early mediaeval times with the feudal
society which would become prominent throughout European history. The name would later emerge as a noble family with great influence, having many distinguished branches, and become noted for its involvement in social, economic and political affairs. The Alten name belongs to one of the oldest recorded noble families of this region; they appeared in chronicles as early as 1183.
Early History of the Altenn family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Altenn research.Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1764 and 1840 are included under the topic Early Altenn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Altenn Spelling Variations
of this family name include: Alten, Allten, Altenn, Altens, Alltens, Alltenns and others.
Early Notables of the Altenn family (pre 1700)
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Altenn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Altenn family to the New World and Oceana
Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: G.N. Alten, who arrived in San Francisco in 1852; John Alten, age 56; settled in America in 1709 with his wife and 4 daughters.
The Altenn Motto
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Sola nobilitat virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue alone ennobles.