Bretsch History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestral home of the Bretsch family is in the German state of Bavaria. The name Bretsch is an occupational hereditary surname, a type of surname that was taken from a word describing or common to the profession of the original bearer. It is a name for a carpenter or a person who worked making shelves and other wooden objects. The name Bretsch was originally derived from the Old Germanic word Brett, which means carpenter. It was given to a person who ran a sawmill or a lumber merchant. By the Middle Ages, the Bretsch family had been elevated to the ranks of the nobility and had become extremely involved in the local social, economic and political affairs of Bavaria. It acquired a prestigious reputation for its contribution to the development of the district. The social status and prestige of the Bretsch family was increased when it expanded and acquired distant estates in other areas of Germany.

Early Origins of the Bretsch family

The surname Bretsch was first found in Bavaria, where the name could be considered to have made an early contribution to the feudal society which became the backbone of early development of Europe. There is record of a Sydel Bretsnyder in 1372 in Liegnitz and a Peter Bretsnyder in Breslau in 1397.

Jakob Bretschneider is listed as living in Dippoldiswalde in 1499 in a document called "Die Matrikel des Hochstifts Merseburg" which chronicles Germanic surnames. The name became prominent in local affairs and branched into many houses which played important roles in the savage tribal and national conflicts, each group seeking power and status in an ever-changing territorial profile. Bret or Brett are short forms of the name Brettschneider, a name meaning a person running a sawmill or a lumber merchant.

Early History of the Bretsch family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bretsch research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1880, 1844, 1776 and 1848 are included under the topic Early Bretsch History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bretsch Spelling Variations

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 Bretsch include Bret, Brett, Brette, Bretsch, Brettschneider, Bretsnyder, Brettschnyder and many more.

Early Notables of the Bretsch family (pre 1700)

Prominent among members of the name Bretsch in this period include Friedrich Wilhelm Bretschneider, a lieutenant field-marshal in the Austrian army and at one time the commandant of the Italian city...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bretsch Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bretsch migration to the United States +

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 Bretsch or a variant listed above:

Bretsch Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Lawrence Bretsch, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844 [1]
  • Karl Ludwig Friedrich August Bretsch, aged 8, who landed in America in 1846 [1]
  • Johann Michael Bretsch, aged 28, who arrived in Ohio in 1852 [1]
  • Wilhelmine Bretsch, who emigrated from Prussia and was headed for Wisconsin in 1869
  • Frederick Bretsch brought his family from Switzerland to America in 1883

Canada Bretsch migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bretsch Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Gottlieb Bretsch fought as a mercenary with the British in the American War for Independence, and was given land in Newfoundland in 1777


  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)


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