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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the German Thoma family come from? What is the German Thoma family crest and coat of arms? When did the Thoma family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Thoma family history?

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.


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.

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.


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.


Another 149 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thoma Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


  • 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
  • Heinrich Thoma (b. 1900), Swiss Olympic rower
  • Godfrey Thoma (b. 1957), Nauruan politician
  • Hans Thoma (1839-1924), German painter of rural scenes from the Black Forest region


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  1. Strassburger, Ralph B. German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  2. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
  3. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  4. Rupp, Daniel L. A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2000. Print. (ISBN 978-0806303024).
  5. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  6. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
  7. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  8. Schenk, Trudy. Wuerttemberg Emigration Index Volume I-VIII. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Inc., 1986. Print.
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  11. ...

The Thoma Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com 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 19 December 2014 at 11:50.

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