The surname Sommerfeld was first found in Wiltshire where there is a Great Somerford and Little Somerford. Both date back to 937 when they were listed simply as Sumerford. By the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, the village was listed as Sumreford. The placename literally means "ford usable in the summer," from the Old English sumor + ford.  Somerford Keynes is located in Gloucestershire and that locale dates back further to 685 when it was listed as Sumerford.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sommerfeld research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sommerfeld History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Sommerfeld has appeared include Somerford, Somerfield and others.
At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Sommerfeld arrived in North America very early:
Sommerfeld Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Anna and W. Sommerfeld, who both settled in Texas in 1860
Leonard Sommerfeld, aged 27, who landed in New York, NY in 1884 
Jacob, Mathilda, and Wilhelmina Sommerfeld, who settled in New York State in 1898
^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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