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

Origins Available: German, Jewish

Nestled between the Rhine and Wesser rivers is the ancient German region of Westphalia. Westphalia, the home of the name Hofer. In the German provinces, hereditary surnames were adopted after the 12th century, and names that were derived from localities became increasingly widespread. Local surnames originally denoted the proprietorship of the village or estate. When coupled with the German preposition von, which means from or of, local names can indicate that the initial bearer of the name was an aristocrat. However, in modern times, the preposition is frequently dropped from surnames of this type. The Hofer family originally lived on a farmstead. The name Hofer is derived from the Old German and German word hof, which means settlement, farm or court.


The surname Hofer was first found in Westphalia, where the family contributed greatly to the development of an emerging nation.The name probably stems from the German word "Hof" meaning "court."

One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Hofer include Hof, Hoff, Hoffe, Hofer, Hoefer, Hoeffer, Hoffer, Hofle, Hoefe, Hofler, Hoefler, Hofner and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hofer research. Another 717 words (51 lines of text) covering the years 1440, 1829, 1378, 1662, 1773, 1629 and 1684 are included under the topic Early Hofer History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hofer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many Germans emigrated across the Atlantic to seek better lives in North America. This great migration began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century. Resettlement was particularly attractive to those from Westphalia as a means of escape from poverty and religious persecution. For many Westphalian farmers, the chance to own one's own land was also a major incentive. The process of the widespread colonization of the United States began in 1650, when many immigrants from Germany settled in pockets in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. In Canada, German settlements centered around Ontario and the Prairie provinces. Among them:

Hofer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Jane Hofer, who landed in Virginia in 1665

Hofer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Simon Hofer, who arrived in New York in 1709
  • Matthias Hofer, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1774
  • Mathias Hofer sailed to Pennsylvania in 1774
  • Ferdinand Hofer sailed to America in 1778
  • Ferdinand Friedr Hofer, who landed in America in 1778

Hofer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Henry Hofer, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1819
  • Remmont Hofer, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1839
  • Wilhelmine Hofer, who landed in America in 1846
  • Elisabet Margareta Hofer, who arrived in America in 1852
  • John Gotlieb Hofer, aged 32, arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1853


  • Paul Hofer (b. 1952), former professional American football player
  • Helmut Hermann W. Hofer (b. 1956), German-born, American mathematician, one of the founders of the area of symplectic topology
  • Karl Christian Ludwig Hofer (1878-1955), German expressionist painter
  • Andreas Hofer (1767-1810), Tyrolean innkeeper and drover, who in 1809 became the leader of the Tyrolean Rebellion against the French and Bavarian occupation forces during the War of the Fifth Coalition
  • Othmar Hofer, Austrian gold and bronze medalist luger in the 1970s


  • Hofer-Donaldson History and Families by Marriage, 1700s-1979 by Fred Hoofer.

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  1. Bahlow, Hans (Edda Gentry trns). Dictionary of German Names . Madison, Wisconsin: Max Kade Institute, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-924119-35-7).
  2. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  7. Hildenbrand, A.M. Wappenfibel. Handbuch der Heraldik. Neustadt an der Aisch: 1970. Print.
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  10. Bahlow, Hans. Abhandlungen zur Namenforschung und Buchgeschichte. 1980. Print. (ISBN 978-3768690522).
  11. ...

The Hofer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Hofer 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 24 March 2015 at 09:24.

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