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

Origins Available: German, Swedish

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

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

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.


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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.

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Another 45 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wahl Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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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  • Arthur Wahl (1917-2006), American physicist, first person to isolate plutonium in a laboratory
  • Ken Wahl, American television actor
  • Tyson Wahl (b. 1984), American soccer player
  • Kermit Emerson Wahl (1922-1987), American Major League Baseball infielder
  • Sara Rosalie Wahl (1924-2013), American lawyer and judge, first woman in state history named to the Minnesota Supreme Court
  • Moritz Callmann Wahl, German writer
  • Jens Wahl (b. 1966), German former footballer
  • Jean Wahl (1888-1974), French existential philosopher
  • Jacques Henri Wahl (b. 1932), Secretary-General to the President of France


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  1. 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).
  2. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  3. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  4. Bahlow, Hans. Deutschlands geographische Namenwelt Etymologisches Lexikon der Fluss- und Ortsnamen alteuropaischer Herkunft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
  5. Göbel, Otto. Niederdeutsche Familiennamen der Gegenwart Wolfshagen-Schäbentz. Franz: Westphal, 1936. Print.
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Kneschke, Dr. Ernest Heinrich. Neues allgemeines Deutsches Adels-Lexicon 9 Volumes New General German Aristocracy Lexicon. Leipzig: Friedrich Voigt, 1859. Print.
  8. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
  9. Nied, Edmund. Fraenkische Familiennamen urkundlich gesammelt und sprachlich gedeutet. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933. Print.
  10. Karlsruhe. Badisches Generallandesarchiv Baden Emigration lists 1866-1911. Salt Lake City: Microfilm of Card Index by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Print.
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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 21 May 2015 at 22:26.

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