The Waldau family name first began to be used in the German state of Bavaria
. After the 12th century, as hereditary surnames
began to be adopted, names that were derived from locations became particularly common. The family name Waldau 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 Waldau was given to someone who lived in or near the woods.
Early Origins of the Waldau family
The surname Waldau was first found in the Franconian-Bavarian border, where the name emerged in mediaeval times as one of the notable families of the region. From the 13th century the surname was identified with the great social and economic evolution which made this territory a landmark contributor to the development of the nation. Indeed, this family is known to be one of the oldest noble families in all of Germany
, as well as one of the largest landowners. They originate from their ancestral castle named Waldau which lies in northern Bavaria
on the border to Franconia. Because of this proximity to Franconia, family members were listed in both Bavarian and Franconian chronicles of chivalry. Besides the castle Waldau, the family owned the castles Pleystein (Bleistein) and Waldthurn in Bavaria
. In the 10th century the family extended into the Lausitz (Lusatia) after the Serbs of this region were conquered by Kaiser Heinrich I. They built the castle Waldau in the Upper-Lausitz three miles from Goerlitz. Without a doubt, the most famous of the family in early times was Peter Waldo, Valdo, Valdes, or Waldes (c.
1140 - c. 1205), the founder of the Waldensians, an early Christian spiritual movement of the Middle Ages.
Early History of the Waldau family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Waldau research.Another 285 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1352, 1413, 1735, 1742, 1700, 1754, 1714 and 1801 are included under the topic Early Waldau History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Waldau Spelling Variations
Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia
. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations
of Waldau include Waldau, Waldauer, Waldov, Waldauw, Waldowe, Waldow, Waldo (English), Waldaw, Walde, Zumwalt, Zumwald, Zumwalde and many more.
Early Notables of the Waldau family (pre 1700)
Prominent among members of the name Waldau in this period include Johann von Waldau, who was the bishop of Alt-Brandenburg in 1413. Sigismund Rudolph von Waldau, the Lord of Gottberg and Haselbusch, died in 1735 as a Prussian major general and chief of the regiment "von Waldau", while Arnold von Waldau... Another 86 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Waldau Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Waldau family to the New World and Oceana
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: Andrew Zumwalt, who came to Texas in 1836; Wilhelm Zumwalde, who immigrated to Kentucky in 1839; Gotz Lazarus Waldauer, who came to Philadelphia in 1844.