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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

The Thoma family name first began to be used in the German state of Bavaria. After the 12th century, hereditary surnames were adopted according to fairly general rules, and names that were derived from locations became particularly common. The family name Thoma is a local surname. Originally denoting the proprietorship of an estate or influence within a village, the German preposition von, which means from or of, used with local names, was taken as a mark of aristocracy. The surname Thoma was given to someone who lived in Bavaria.


The surname Thoma was first found in Bavaria, where this surname surfaced in mediaeval times as one of the notable families of the region. From the 13th century onwards the name was associated with the great social and economic evolution which made this territory a landmark contributor to the development of the nation.

In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. 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 Thoma include Thoma, Thoman, Thom, Thoms, Toma, Thomas, Tomas, Thomasius, Thoeman, Thome, Thomen, Thomme, Thomm, Demel, Dehmel and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thoma research. Another 267 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1775, 1776, 1635, 1669, 1746, 1655, 1728, 1670, 1704, 1644, 1709, 1663 and 1721 are included under the topic Early Thoma History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Prominent among members of the name Thoma in this period include Frederic Count de Thoms (1669-1746), a German art collector; Peter Lorenz Thomas von Langenhardt (mid 17th century), Secretary of the Johannite Order of knights at Sonnenburg; Christian Thomas (1655-1728, known as Thomasius)...

Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thoma Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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 Bavaria who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. For many Bavarian tenant farmers, the chance to own their own land was a major incentive. So the widespread colonization of the United States began in 1650, when many immigrants from Germany settled in pockets in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. In Canada, German settlement centered in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Among those of this surname listed in various historical records were:

Thoma Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Durst Thoma, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761
  • Johann Philip Thoma came to Philadelphia in 1764

Thoma Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Christian Thoma, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Lorenz Thoma, aged 39, landed in Missouri in 1840
  • Carl Wilhelm Thoma settled in Texas in 1845
  • Christiane Priester Thoma, who landed in America in 1850
  • Adam Thoma, who landed in America in 1852
  • ...

  • Roscoe P. Thoma, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1940
  • Paul Thoma, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Allegheny County 1st District, 1908
  • Leo D. Thoma, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1932
  • John Thoma, American politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Stonington, 1908
  • Ludwig Thoma (1867-1921), German author, editor, and publisher
  • Kurt Thoma (1901-1971), German naval captain
  • Georg Thoma (b. 1937), German Olympic skier
  • Dieter Thoma (b. 1969), German Olympic ski jumper
  • Busso Thoma (1899-1945), German who was hanged for his part in the July 20 assassination attempt on Hitler
  • Antonius von Thoma (1829-1897), German Roman Catholic archbishop
  • ...

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    Other References

    1. Bahlow, Hans. Deutschlands geographische Namenwelt Etymologisches Lexikon der Fluss- und Ortsnamen alteuropaischer Herkunft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
    2. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
    3. Brechenmacher, Josef Karlmann. Deutches Namenbuch. Stuttgart: Verlag von Adolf Bonz & Comp, 1928. Print.
    4. Kneschke, Dr. Ernest Heinrich. Neues allgemeines Deutsches Adels-Lexicon 9 Volumes New General German Aristocracy Lexicon. Leipzig: Friedrich Voigt, 1859. Print.
    5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    6. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
    7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    8. 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).
    9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    11. ...

    The Thoma Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Thoma 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 7 April 2016 at 20:34.

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