Show ContentsWahl History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Wahl family

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.

Early History of the Wahl family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wahl research. Another 129 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1541, 1587, 1617 and 1753 are included under the topic Early Wahl History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wahl Spelling Variations

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

Early Notables of the Wahl family

Notables of the time included

  • Saul Wahl Katzenellenbogen (1541-1617) a wealthy and politically influential Polish Jew who is said to have briefly occupied the throne of Poland on 18 August 1587. According to folklore, he borne the...
  • Johann Andreas Wahler, economic advisor at the courts of Bamberg and Wuerzburg, who was ennobled in 1753 in reward for his outstanding service

Wahl Ranking

In the United States, the name Wahl is the 2,946th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [1] However, in France, the name Wahl is ranked the 5,332nd most popular surname with an estimated 1,000 - 1,500 people with that name. [2]

United States Wahl migration to the United States +

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 [3]
  • Johannes Wahl, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1749 [3]
  • Johan Casper Wahl, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1754 [3]
  • Johann Caspar Wahl, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1754
  • Friederich Wahl, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1764 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
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, who landed in New York, NY in 1847 [3]
  • Elizabeth Wahl, aged 36, who arrived in New York, NY in 1847 [3]
  • Theodor Wahl, who arrived in Texas in 1849
  • Bernhard Wahl, aged 36, who landed in North America in 1853 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Wahl (post 1700) +

  • Grant Wahl (1973-2022), American sports journalist and soccer analyst for CBS Sports, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and a correspondent for Fox Sports, author of the book The Beckham Experiment (2009)
  • Phoebe Wahl, American illustrator, sculptor and children's book author
  • Jan Boyer Wahl (1931-2019), American children's author of over 120 works
  • James M. Wahl (1846-1939), born Jens Magnus Wahl, Norwegian-born, American settler and legislator in South Dakota
  • Robert Martin "Bobby" Wahl (b. 1992), American professional baseball pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers
  • Elizabeth Alice "Betty" Wahl (1924-1988), American novelist and short story writer from St. Cloud, Minnesota
  • Bernt Rainer Wahl, American mathematician, mentor, entrepreneur, and author who served as CEO of Factle Corporation, Datahunt, and Dynamic Software
  • Ken Wahl (b. 1954), American retired television actor, popular in the 1980s and 1990s, best known for his role in the CBS television crime drama Wiseguy
  • Arthur Wahl (1917-2006), American physicist, first person to isolate plutonium in a laboratory; he also worked on the Manhattan Project
  • Leo J. Wahl, American hair clipper inventor who patented the electromagnetic hair clipper in 1919
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  • Hermann Wahl (1921-1941), German Matrosengefreiter who served aboard the German Battleship Bismarck during World War II when it was sunk heading to France; he died in the sinking [4]

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. Bismarck & Tirpitz Class - Crew List Bismarck. (Retrieved 2018, February 06). Retrieved from on Facebook