The German surname Matthau emerged in the lands that formed the powerful German state of Prussia
, which at one time was an immense territory that stretched from France and the Low Countries to the Baltic sea and Poland. After the fall of the Roman Empire
, the German territories were inhabited by a variety of barbarian tribes. The borders of the barbarian kingdoms changed frequently, but the region that became known as Prussia
was roughly divided between the areas of Brandenburg-Prussia
, West Prussia
, and East Prussia
. 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 Matthau family
The surname Matthau was first found in Prussia
, where the family contributed greatly to the development of an emerging nation, and would later play a large role in the tribal and national conflicts of the area. The name stems from two sources which were continually mixed up throughout the Middle Ages, so they can no longer be differentiated: one was Matthaeus the Evangelist, who was patron saint of tax collectors, and the other was Mattias ( Hebrew
for "gift of the gods",) who was one of the twelve Apostles. In later years the name branched into many houses, each playing a significant role in local
social and political affairs.
Early History of the Matthau family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Matthau research.Another 146 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1727, 1710, 1558, 1504, 1565, 1681, 1764, 1681, 1764, 1761, 1831, 1809 and 1811 are included under the topic Early Matthau History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Matthau 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 Matthau include Mathias, Matthias, Mathius, Matthius, Matheus, Mathesius, Matheson, Matthisson, Mathies, Mathiessen, Thiessen and many more.
Early Notables of the Matthau family (pre 1700)
Prominent bearers of the family name Matthau during this time period were Johannes Mathesius (1504-1565), who was a friend and disciple of Martin Luther. He is the author of the first biography of Luther, and himself wrote hymns and sermons. Johann Mattheson (1681-1764) was a musician and translator and produced the first German imitation of "The... Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Matthau Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Matthau family to the New World and Oceana
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 Matthau were Mathew Mathias, who came to Virginia in 1651. He was followed by Georg Mathias and Henrich Matteis who both arrived in New York in 1710. Johann Mathies came to Philadelphia in 1768 Bernhart Matheus in 1754.
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