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


Medieval Austria is the noble birthplace of the family name Phifer. 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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The surname Phifer was 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.

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


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

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Austria was made a republic after the First World War. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up by the Treaty of Versailles and many of its people found themselves in the new nation of Czechoslovakia. Many other Austrians and expatriate Austrians made their way to North America in the 20th century. Most landed in Philadelphia, later continuing on to the states of Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Some Austrian settlers also went to western Canada and Ontario. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Phifer or a variant listed above: Adam Pfeiffer, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1751; Christian Pfeiffer, age 28; settled in Canada in 1783; Eberhard Pfeiffer came to Texas in 1846.

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  1. Garland, Mary and Henry Garland Editions. Oxford Companion To German Literature 3rd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. (ISBN 0198158963).
  2. Nied, Edmund. Fraenkische Familiennamen urkundlich gesammelt und sprachlich gedeutet. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933. Print.
  3. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmacher's Grosses Wappenbuch 35 Volumes. Germany: Bauer & Raspe. Print.
  7. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  8. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  9. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
  10. Steed, Henry Wickham . The Hapsburg Monarchy. London: Constable and Company, 1919. Print.
  11. ...

The Phifer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Phifer 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 6 March 2014 at 13:18.

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