Nestled between the Rhine and Wesser rivers is the ancient German region of Westphalia
, the home of the name Westphall. Hereditary surnames
were adopted in this region after the 12th century, and surnames were derived from localities were common. Local
surnames originally denoted the proprietorship of the village or estate. When coupled with the German preposition von, which means from or of, local
names can indicate that the initial bearer of the name was an aristocrat. The Westphall family originally lived in Westphalia. The original bearer of this name was born in Westphalia, but acquired the name Westphall after migrating to a different German territory. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.
Early Origins of the Westphall family
The surname Westphall was first found in Westphalia
and the Rhineland
, where the name could be considered to make a great early contribution to the feudal
society which became the backbone of early development of Europe. The name Westphalen became prominent in local
affairs, and branched into many houses which played important roles in the tribal and national conflicts, as each group sought power in a constantly changing territorial profile. The oldest branch of the family can be traced to the ducal house von Billung, which dates back to 960. From very early on the family emigrated to Pomerania and Mecklenburg, and chronicles first mention the individuals Egbert Westfal of Stralsund in 1294 and Johann Westfeleke of Greifswald in 1350.
Early History of the Westphall family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Westphall research.Another 221 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1726, 1754, 1778, 1780, 1789, 1792, 1805, 1807, 1809, 1818, 1833, 1856, and 1890 are included under the topic Early Westphall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Westphall Spelling Variations
One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Westphall include Westphall, Westphal, Westfehling, Fehling, Westfahl, Westfeleke (Silesia), Westphalen, Westfall and many more.
Early Notables of the Westphall family (pre 1700)
Notables of the period with the name Westphall were many prominent descendents of the House von Billung line. They include Clemens August Wilhelm von Westphalen (1726-1778), Privy Councellor at Hildesheim and Paderborn, his son Clemens August Wilhelm (1754-1818), Grand Prior of the St. Johann Order of Knights, who became Count of... Another 63 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Westphall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Westphall family to the New World and Oceana
Many Germans emigrated across the Atlantic to seek better lives in North America. This great migration began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century. Resettlement was particularly attractive to those from Westphalia
as a means of escape from poverty and religious persecution. For many Westphalian
farmers, the chance to own one's own land was also a major incentive. The process of 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 settlements centered around Ontario and the Prairie provinces. Among them were: Peter Westphal, who came to Virginia in 1778; John Westfall arrived in Frederick County, Maryland in 1795; Christian Westphal arrived in Frederickstown, Pennsylvania in 1778 at the age of 27.
The Westphall Motto
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Fais que dois, arrive que pourra
Motto Translation: Do you duty, come what may.