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


Medieval Austria is the noble birthplace of the family name Pfeifer. Austria, which was originally home to a Celtic people, was conquered by the Roman Empire in about 15 BC. Following the fall of Rome, Austria was repeatedly invaded by barbarian tribes, such as the Vandals, Visigoths, and Huns, who swept in from the east. During the 5th and 6th centuries, the Alemanni, Avars and Slavs settled Austria. The Avars were defeated in 785 by the Frankish emperor Charlemagne, who set up the East Mark, which later became known as the Österreich. Austria was ruled by the Babenburger dynasty until 1278, when they were succeeded by the Hapsburg dynasty, which ruled Austria until the 20th century.

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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 Pfeifer include Pfeiffer, Pfeifer, Pfeyffer, Pfeyfer and many more.

First found in Austria, where the name could be considered to make a great early contribution to the feudal society which became the backbone of early development of Europe. The name became prominent in local affairs and branched into many houses which played important roles in the national conflicts, each group seeking power and status in an ever changing territorial profile. Chronicles first mention Nickel Pfyfer of Liegnitz in 1372, and Hailman der Pfiffer in 1371.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pfeifer research. Another 301 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1566, 1590, 1713, 1721, 1797, and 1858 are included under the topic Early Pfeifer History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pfeifer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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After the First World War, Austria became a republic. The Treaty of Versailles broke up the empire in 1919 and many of the Sudeten Germans were incorporated into the new nation of Czechoslovakia. In the 20th century, many Austrians 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 Ontario and the Prairies. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Pfeifer were

Pfeifer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Frantz Joseph Pfeifer, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1752
  • Christian Elize Pfeifer, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1772
  • Maria Elizabeth Pfeifer, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1772
  • Jean Pfeifer, who arrived in Charles Town, South Carolina in 1782

Pfeifer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Karoline Pfeifer, who arrived in America in 1839
  • Johanna Pfeifer, aged 22, landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1847
  • Nicholas Pfeifer, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1848
  • Joseph Pfeifer, aged 30, arrived in New Orleans, La in 1850
  • Karl Ludw Pfeifer, who landed in America in 1853


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  • Michael David Pfeifer (b. 1937), American Roman Catholic bishop emeritus of the Diocese of San Angelo
  • Louis Fred Pfeifer (1876-1949), American private in the United States Marine Corps who received the Medal of Honor
  • George Pfeifer (b. 1955), American college basketball coach, assistant coach at Montana State University
  • Carl Ferdinand Pfeifer (1915-2001), American officer in the United States Navy, aid to Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, twice awarded the Legion of Merit
  • William "Will" Pfeifer (b. 1967), American comic book writer
  • Paul E. Pfeifer (b. 1942), American politician and jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio (1993-), Member of the Ohio Senate (1977-1992)
  • Joseph Lawrence Pfeifer (1892-1974), American politician, United States Representative from New York (1935-1945) and (1945-1951)
  • Paul E. Pfeifer (b. 1942), American Republican politician, Member of Ohio State House of Representatives 15th District, 1971-76;Candidate in primary for Governor of Ohio, 1986; Candidate for Ohio State Attorney General, 1990; Justice of Ohio State Supreme Court, 1993-
  • Joseph Lawrence Pfeifer (1892-1974), American Democrat politician, Physician; U.S. Representative from New York, 1935-51 (3rd District 1935-45, 8th District 1945-51)
  • Charles W. Pfeifer, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wisconsin, 1912

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  1. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmachers Wappenbuch. München, Battenberg: 1975. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
  4. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
  5. Garland, Mary and Henry Garland Editions. Oxford Companion To German Literature 3rd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. (ISBN 0198158963).
  6. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
  7. Karlsruhe. Badisches Generallandesarchiv Baden Emigration lists 1866-1911. Salt Lake City: Microfilm of Card Index by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Print.
  8. Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia 1733-1783 Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0806311614).
  9. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Journeys German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  10. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...

The Pfeifer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pfeifer 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 16 March 2016 at 14:02.

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