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

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

The German state of Bavaria is the ancestral home of the Waldo family. Waldo is a local name. Waldo is a name for someone who lived in or near the woods.


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 Waldo include Waldau, Waldauer, Waldov, Waldauw, Waldowe, Waldow, Waldo (English), Waldaw, Walde, Zumwalt, Zumwald, Zumwalde and many more.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Waldo 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 Waldo History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 251 words(18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Waldo Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


European migration to North America began in the mid-17th century and continued unabated until the mid-20th. Many Bavarians made the long trip to escape poverty or persecution based on their religious beliefs. The chance for tenant farmers to own their own land was also a major drawing card. They settled all across the United States in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Many came to Canada also, settling in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Analysis of immigration records has shown some of the first Waldos to arrive in North America, and among them were:

Waldo Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Waldo, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Cornelius Waldo, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1654
  • John Waldo, who arrived in New England in 1675

Waldo Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Volney Waldo, who arrived in Canada in 1831


  • Professor Clarence Abiathar Waldo (1852-1926), American mathematics professor best known for his role in the Indiana Pi Bill affair
  • Daniel Waldo (1762-1864), American clergyman
  • Daniel Waldo (1800-1880), American legislator in the Provisional Government of Oregon, eponym of Waldo Hills, Oregon
  • Dwight Waldo (1913-2000), American political scientist
  • Janet Waldo (b. 1924), American actress and voice artist
  • Rhinelander Waldo (1877-1927), former U.S. Army Captain who served as the Fire and later the Police Commissioner of New York City in the early to mid 1910s
  • Samuel Waldo (1695-1759), American merchant, land speculator, soldier and political figure in Massachusetts
  • Samuel Lovett Waldo (1783-1861), American painter
  • Dr. Dwight B. Waldo (1864-1939), first president of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • John B. Waldo (1844-1907), jurist and conservationist in Oregon of the United States



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  1. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  2. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Karlsruhe. Badisches Generallandesarchiv Baden Emigration lists 1866-1911. Salt Lake City: Microfilm of Card Index by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Print.
  4. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
  5. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmachers Wappenbuch. München, Battenberg: 1975. Print.
  6. Zoder, Rudolf. Familiennamen in Ostfalen. Hildesheim: Geog Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1968. Print.
  7. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  11. ...

The Waldo Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Waldo 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 31 August 2012 at 09:06.

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