An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The name Wideman comes from the Rhineland, an ancient region of Germany. In pre-medieval times, the Germans used only one name, but later they were forced by a growing population to adopt hereditary surnames, so as to remain distinct from others using the same personal (first) name. Local names derived from place names, were often chosen. They originally indicated land ownership, and frequently carried the prefix von, meaning "of" or "from", which is often taken as an indication of aristocratic lineage. Wideman was a name for some one lived in the area that was referred to as widem which was originally derived from the German word denoting church property. Thus the estates or farms lived in by the original bearers of the surname were owned by the church. In early times the Church was the largest landowner in Europe. Many farmers and peasants alike lived on land that was considered church property.
The surname Wideman was first found in the Palatinate in the Rhineland valley, where the name was anciently associated with the tribal conflicts of the area. They declared allegiances to many nobles and princes of early history, lending their influence in struggles for power and status within the region. They branched into many houses, and many leaders sought their support in their search for power.
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 Wideman include Widmann, Widman, Widemann, Wideman, Witmann, Witman, Wittmann, Wittman, Whitman and many more.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wideman research. Another 398 words (28 lines of text) covering the years 1601, 1638, 1639, 1642, 1646, 1667, 1675, 1687, 1712, 1719, 1724, 1730, and 1870 are included under the topic Early Wideman History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wideman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Between the 17th and 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Europeans came to North America, and many Rhinelanders were among them. They had many various reasons for making the choice: to escape poverty and persecution, for adventure, and for the opportunity to own their own land. Ellis Island, one of the main American immigration centers, saw many settlers as they moved on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, they found homes in Ontario, and on the great plains of the Midwestern provinces. The Wideman were among of the early German families that came to North America:
Wideman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Wideman Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
The Wideman Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wideman 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 12 December 2015 at 16:23.