Bernhardt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The prestigious family surname Bernhardt originated in the territory that eventually became the German state of Prussia. In the 19th century, this state was virtually unrivalled militarily, and its rapid industrial growth made it a contender for economic superiority in Europe as well. However, in the medieval era, Prussia was fragmented and inhabited by numerous barbarian tribes, who fought amongst themselves for control of the land. The borders of the barbarian kingdoms, which were established after the fall of the Roman Empire, changed repeatedly. The region that came to be known as Prussia was roughly divided between the territories of Brandenburg-Prussia, West Prussia and East Prussia. The Bernhardt family emerged in Brandenburg- Prussia, which is essentially the birthplace of modern Germany. By the 19th century, Brandenburg-Prussia had incorporated East Prussia, West Prussia and many other German territories. Moreover, in the late 19th century, it led the German states in the unification of Germany.

Early Origins of the Bernhardt family

The surname Bernhardt was first found in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, and throughout the lands that would later form the Prussian Empire, where the name became noted for its many branches, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied by the princes of the regions. In their later history the name became a power unto themselves and was elevated to the ranks of nobility as they grew into this most influential family. In its mediaeval context, the literal meaning of the name was "baerenkuehn," that is, "bear-brave." The name began its rise to prominence as one of the most popular first names of northern Germany in the Middle Ages before becoming firmly grounded as a surname.

Early History of the Bernhardt family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bernhardt research. Another 219 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1604, 1623, 1639, 1728, 1762, 1763, 1769, 1810, 1818, and 1820 are included under the topic Early Bernhardt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bernhardt Spelling Variations

Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Bernhardt include Bernhard, Bernhardi (Alemannic), Bernhardy (Latin genetive form found along Rhine and Danube rivers), Bernardt, Bernhardt, Bernehard, Bernehardt and many more.

Early Notables of the Bernhardt family (pre 1700)

Notable figures of the time with the name Bernhardt were Duke Bernhard of Saxen-Weimar (1604-1639), who was a celebrated general in the Thirty Years' War. He was born in 1604 in Weimar as the eleventh son of John, duke of Saxen-Weimar. At the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bernhardt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bernhardt migration to the United States +

Prussia played an extremely influential role in shaping modern German history. It remained a part of Germany until after the Second World War. Prussia was divided among the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany and West Germany. Many Prussians became residents of these new countries after the War, and many migrated to other parts of Germany or Europe, as well as to North America. In the United States, the majority of settlers landed in Philadelphia, and moved on to Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Many German settlers also migrated to Canada, particularly to Ontario and the Prairies. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Bernhardt were

Bernhardt Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johann Jost Bernhardt, who arrived in New York, NY in 1710 [1]
  • Johannes Bernhardt, who arrived in New York, NY in 1710 [1]
  • Ulrich Bernhardt, who arrived in New York, NY in 1710 [1]
  • Hans Bernhardt, who arrived in Carolina in 1734 [1]
  • Verena Bernhardt, who arrived in Carolina in 1743 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bernhardt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Bernhardt, who landed in Indiana in 1852 [1]
  • Mathias Bernhardt, aged 16, who arrived in New York in 1854 [1]
  • Wilh Bernhardt, who landed in America in 1854 [1]
  • Gebh Bernhardt, aged 43, who landed in New York, NY in 1855 [1]
  • Georg Phil Bernhardt, who arrived in America in 1858 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bernhardt Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Gustave Bernhardt, who landed in Arkansas in 1904 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bernhardt (post 1700) +

  • Robert "Bob" Bernhardt, American conductor, Principal Pops Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra
  • Clyde E.B. Bernhardt (1905-1986), American jazz trombonist
  • Curtis Bernhardt (1899-1981), German-born, American director and screenwriter who was forced to flee the Nazi regime in 1933
  • Melvin Bernhardt (1931-2015), American multiple Obie Award winning and Daytime Emmy Award nominated stage and television director
  • Warren Bernhardt (b. 1938), American jazz pianist
  • Katherine Bernhardt (b. 1975), American artist
  • Patrick Bernhardt (b. 1971), German auto racing driver
  • Otto Bernhardt (b. 1942), German former politician, member of the Bundestag from 1998 until 2009
  • Timothy John "Tim" Bernhardt (b. 1958), Canadian retired professional NHL ice hockey goalkeeper
  • Juan Ramón Bernhardt Coradin (b. 1953), Dominican retired Major League Baseball player who played from 1976 to 1979
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8) on Facebook
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