Rhineland was the local name. Originally denoting the proprietorship of the village or estate, the German preposition von, which means from or of, was used with local names. The surname Dunkelberger was given to someone who lived near a swamp. Ancient records reveal the name Dunkelberger is derived from the Old German word dunk, which referred to a small hill in a swampy area. The surname Dunkelberger is also of nickname origin and derived from the word dunck, or dunkel which means dark. One must assume that the original bearers of the surname Dunkelberger had dark physical features.
Early Origins of the Dunkelberger family
Rhineland, 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 earliest individual member of this family to be mentioned in chronicles was Georg Dunckel who lived in Cologne on the Rhine river around 1186.
Early History of the Dunkelberger family
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Dunkelberger 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 Dunkelberger include Dunkel, Dunckel, Dunkelman, Dunkelmann, Dunkell, Dunkle, Dunker and many more.
Early Notables of the Dunkelberger family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Dunkelberger family to the New World and Oceana
The great European flow of migration to North America, which began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century, was particularly attractive to those from the Rhineland who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. Many of those who left the Rhineland to seek their fortunes in the prosperous and free New World settled in the major urban centers of the United States and Canada. In the United States, the settlers from the Rhineland passed through immigration centers like that of Ellis Island, most of them moving on to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, the majority of Rhinelanders settled in Ontario and the prairie provinces. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many important settlers to North America bearing the name Dunkelberger, or one of its variants above:
Dunkelberger Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Dunkelberger Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
Contemporary Notables of the name Dunkelberger (post 1700)
Dunkelberger Family Crest Products