Rhineland was the original home of the ancestors of the Gruenenwald surname. Gruenenwald was a local name, a type of hereditary surname that identified people by the places where they lived. Landowners were the first to use local names, and they often attached the prefix "von", meaning "of" or "from," to the surname. Often, the use of "von" was a mark of aristocratic birth. Local names are by far the most common style of German hereditary surname. Gruenenwald was a name for someone who lived close to the village green. Gruenenwald is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names.
Early Origins of the Gruenenwald family
Rhineland, (Strasbourg) where since ancient times the Grunwald family made significant contributions to the region's feudal society. Subsequently, the family became prominent in local affairs and often merged with other distinguished families, some of whom played important roles in the territorial conflicts of the period.
Early History of the Gruenenwald family
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Gruenenwald Spelling Variations
Early Notables of the Gruenenwald family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Gruenenwald family to the New World and Oceana
Hundreds of thousands of Europeans, including many Rhinelanders, made the voyage to North America between the 17th and 20th centuries. It was an escape from religious persecution and poverty and also an opportunity for people to start over and own their own land. Most landed at Ellis Island, off New York before moving on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, and California. Some also landed in Canada and settled in Ontario, while others headed west to the prairie provinces. A study of passenger and immigration lists has shown a number of people bearing the name of Gruenenwald, or one of its variants, reaching North America shores very early: Heinrich Grunewald, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1738. Ludwig C. Gunewald who arrived in New York, N.Y. in 1761; Nicholaus Grunenwald and Jacob Grunenwaldt both arrived in Pennsylvania in 1771.
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