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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The Anglo-Saxon name Greenwald comes from when the family resided as dwellers beside the green grassy hill or body of water. The name comes from the Old English words "green," and "well." No doubt, the first to use this surname were a family who lived on lush green ground near a well, spring or stream. As such, the surname is classed as a topographic surname, one based on physical features near the residence, such as hills, streams, churches, etc.

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The surname Greenwald was first found in Durham where they held a family seat from very ancient times, as Lords of the manor of Greenwell in the parish of Walsingham, and are descended from Gulielmus the Presbyter who held those lands in 1183. His son James assumed the name of the lands, Greenwell.

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Greenwald has been recorded under many different variations, including Grenwell, Greenwell, Greenwall, Grenwall and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greenwald research. Another 281 words (20 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Greenwald History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Greenwald Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Greenwald or a variant listed above:

Greenwald Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • J Greenwald, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855
  • John Greenwald, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1868
  • A Greenwald, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872

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  • Ken Greenwald, American Academy Award nominated producer and actor, known for Good Morning (1971), Dark Readings (2009) and Turn-On (1969)
  • Robert Greenwald (b. 1945), American three-time Primetime Emmy Award nominated producer, known for Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004), Steal This Movie (2000) and Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005)
  • Maggie Greenwald (b. 1955), American multiple award winning director and writer, known for Songcatcher (2000), The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) and Get a Clue (2002)
  • Alex Greenwald (b. 1979), American composer, known for his work on The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), The O.C. (2003) and No Strings Attached (2011)
  • Glenn Greenwald (b. 1967), American writer, known for Citizenfour (2014), Terminal F/Chasing Edward Snowden (2015) and Democracy Now! (2001)
  • Todd J. Greenwald, American two-time Primetime Emmy Award winning television producer and writer, best known for Wizards of Waverly Place (2007), Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (2009) and The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex (2013)
  • Samuel W. Greenwald, American Republican politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from New York County 6th District, 1944
  • Ronald Greenwald, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1972
  • Meyer Greenwald, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Kings County 3rd District, 1929
  • Maria Barnaby Greenwald, American Democrat politician, Mayor of Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey, 1984-85; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1988

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  1. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  2. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  11. ...

The Greenwald Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Greenwald Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 13 December 2015 at 09:55.

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