Rhineland. While the Germans at first used only one name, population increases created confusion among people of the same name, forcing them to adopt hereditary surnames. Two common types of German names are patronymic names, taken from the given name of the father, and metronymic names, taken from the name of the mother. Selich was derived from the baptismal name for the son of Selig, which originated as a pet form of several German personal names, including Salger, Salafrid and Selibrand.
Early Origins of the Selich family
Rhineland, where the name emerged in mediaeval times as one of the notable families of the region. From the 13th century the surname was identified with the great social and economic evolution which made this Prussian territory an important factor in the development of the nation. The literal meaning of this name in its mediaeval context was "happy" or "cheerful." Ancient chronicles first mention a bearer of this name, one Godefrid Selicheit of the ancient imperial city of Worms, around 1196.
Early History of the Selich family
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Selich Spelling Variations
Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Selich include Selig, Seliger (Silesia), Seelig, Seeliger, Seelinger, Zelig, Seliche, Solige, Selege, Selik, Selich, Zelich, Zelik, Selligman, Seligman, Seligmann, Selichman and many more.
Early Notables of the Selich family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Selich family to the New World and Oceana
The great European flow of migration to North America, which began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century, was particularly attractive to those from the Rhineland who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. Many of those who left the Rhineland to seek their fortunes in the prosperous and free New World settled in the major urban centers of the United States and Canada. In the United States, the settlers from the Rhineland passed through immigration centers like that of Ellis Island, most of them moving on to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, the majority of Rhinelanders settled in Ontario and the prairie provinces. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many important settlers to North America bearing the name Selich, or one of its variants above: Johannes G. Seelig, who sailed to Germantown, Pa. in 1694; Johann Selig, who sailed to Philadelphia in 1751; J.H. Selligman to Philadelphia in 1753; Barbara Selig to Texas in 1844.
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