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Origins Available: German, Swedish


The German surname Wahl emerged in the lands that formed the modern state of Lower Saxony, which is presently bordered by the North Sea, the Hartz mountains and the Elbe and Ems rivers. Lower Saxony was previously a medieval Saxon dukedom. In the Middle Ages, many of the Saxon lands were a part of the Holy Roman Empire, which was characterized by the Feudal System. Before this era, people were known only by a single name. However, as the population increased and travelers set out on their journeys, it became necessary for people to adopt a second name to identify themselves. Many people, such as the Wahl family, adopted the name of their feudal occupation as their surname. However, an occupational name did not become a hereditary surname until the office or type of employment became hereditary. The surname Wahl was an occupational name for an elector. In medieval Germany, electors were the ecclesiastical and temporal princes who elected the Holy Roman Emperor. Ancient records reveal the name Wahl is derived from the Old German word wala, which means choice.

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The surname Wahl was first found in Oldenburg, where the name emerged in mediaeval times as one of the prominent families of these regions. From the 13th century on the surname was identified with the great social and economic evolution which made this territory a landmark contributor to the development of the Prussian nation. Chronicles first mention J. Wale of Greifswald, Pomerania in 1322 and Gerd Waler of Anklam in 1406, but the oldest branches of the family are mentioned as having their seat in Oldenburg and even earlier in nearby Doetlingen.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Wahle, Wahlen, Wahler, Wahls, Wahlers, Waler and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wahl research. Another 257 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1753 and 1753 are included under the topic Early Wahl History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wahl Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Wahl Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Johan Wahl, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749
  • Johannes Wahl, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1749
  • Johan Casper Wahl, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1754
  • Johann Caspar Wahl, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1754
  • Friederich Wahl, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1764
  • ...

Wahl Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Melchior Wahl came with his wife Anna Clara and their two children to Philadelphia in 1808
  • Christian Wahl, aged 18, landed in New York, NY in 1847
  • Elizabeth Wahl, aged 36, arrived in New York, NY in 1847
  • Theodor Wahl arrived in Texas in 1849
  • Anton Wahl, who arrived in Valdivia, Chile in 1850
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  • Sarra Rosalie Wahl (1924-2013), American lawyer and jurist, Associate Justice of Minnesota Supreme Court (1977-1994)
  • Sara Rosalie Wahl (1924-2013), American lawyer and judge, first woman in state history named to the Minnesota Supreme Court
  • Kermit Emerson Wahl (1922-1987), American Major League Baseball infielder
  • Tyson Wahl (b. 1984), American soccer player
  • Ken Wahl, American television actor
  • Arthur Wahl (1917-2006), American physicist, first person to isolate plutonium in a laboratory
  • Jens Wahl (b. 1966), German former footballer
  • Moritz Callmann Wahl, German writer
  • Jacques Henri Wahl (b. 1932), Secretary-General to the President of France
  • Jean Wahl (1888-1974), French existential philosopher
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Wahl Framed Surname History and Coat of ArmsWahl Framed Surname History and Coat of Arms

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    4. Brechenmacher, Josef Karlmann. Deutches Namenbuch. Stuttgart: Verlag von Adolf Bonz & Comp, 1928. Print.
    5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    6. Bahlow, Hans. Abhandlungen zur Namenforschung und Buchgeschichte. 1980. Print. (ISBN 978-3768690522).
    7. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    8. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
    9. Zoder, Rudolf. Familiennamen in Ostfalen. Hildesheim: Geog Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1968. Print.
    10. Bahlow, Hans. Mecklenburgisches Namenbüchlein Ein Führer durch Mecklenburgs Familiennamen. Rostock: Carl Hinstorffs Verlag, 1932. Print.
    11. ...

    The Wahl Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wahl 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 16 July 2016 at 03:26.

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