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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2018


The Pretorius surname comes from the word Latin "praetor," and was a term used for a reeve, the chief magistrate or bailiff of a district. Additionally, the name could have meant "leader." The Pretorius variant is a common Afrikaans surname which is unique to South Africa.

Pretorius Early Origins



The surname Pretorius was first found in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. But Saxon surnames survived and the family name was first referenced in the year 1150 when Willelmus Pretor held estates in that shire. Later, Robertus Preter was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of Gloucestershire in 1208.

By the 16th century, early spelling variations of the name appeared in Germany including Jacob Praetorius the Elder (c. 1520-1586), the German organist and composer. He was the first of many listed in this century, but how the English and German families are related is unknown. Moreover how the South African variant Pretorius became so popular there is again unknown.


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Pretorius Early History


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Pretorius Early History



This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pretorius research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Pretorius History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Pretorius Spelling Variations


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Pretorius Spelling Variations



Spelling variations of this family name include: Prater, Preater, Prather, Pretor, Prether and many more.

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Pretorius Early Notables (pre 1700)


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Pretorius Early Notables (pre 1700)



More information is included under the topic Early Pretorius Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Pretorius In Ireland


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Pretorius In Ireland



Some of the Pretorius family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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The Great Migration


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The Great Migration



Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: John Prater, who settled in Newfoundland in 1622; Thomas Prater, who settled in Virginia in 1622; Jonathan Prather, who arrived in Virginia sometime between 1634 and 1789.

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Contemporary Notables of the name Pretorius (post 1700)


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Contemporary Notables of the name Pretorius (post 1700)



  • Ryan Pretorius (b. 1979), former South African American football place kicker
  • André Pretorius (b. 1978), South African rugby union footballer
  • Marthinus Wessel Pretorius (1819-1901), first president of the South African Republic

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Pretorius Family Crest Products


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Pretorius Family Crest Products




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See Also


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See Also



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