Wolf History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Wolf surname is derived from the baptismal name for the son of Wolfgang, a popular personal name in Germany during medieval times. This personal name was originally derived from the Old German "wolf" which meant "wolf" and "ganc" meaning "battle."

Early Origins of the Wolf family

The surname Wolf was first found in the Rhineland, where the name emerged in mediaeval times as one of the notable families of the region. From the 13th century on the surname spread to nearly all parts of Germany, and was identified with the great social and economic evolution that contributed to the development of the nation. Chronicles mention Nivelung Wolf of Cologne as early as 1135, and Elbel Wolf of Bruenn in Moravia in 1365, showing the gradual eastward movement of the branches.

Early History of the Wolf family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wolf research. Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1790, 1856, 1786, 1573, 1491, 1499, 1498, 1499, 1527, 1679, 1754, 1683, 1739, 1759 and 1824 are included under the topic Early Wolf History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wolf 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 Wolf include Wolf, Wolff, Wolfen, Wolfe, Wulf and others.

Early Notables of the Wolf family (pre 1700)

Notables with the name Wolf during this period were Reginald or Reyner Wolfe (d. 1573), printer and publisher, a native of Strasburg. However, "in both France and Germany many early printers bore the same surname: George Wolfe of Baden, printed at Paris from 1491 to 1499; Nicholas Wolfe at Lyons, in 1498 and 1499; and Thomas Wolfe at Basle in 1527. But Reyner was probably most closely related to John Wolfe, a printer of Zurich...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wolf Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Wolf migration to the United States +

Hundreds of thousands of Europeans, including many Rhinelanders, made the voyage to North America between the 17th and 20th centuries. It was an escape from religious persecution and poverty and also an opportunity for people to start over and own their own land. Most landed at Ellis Island, off New York before moving on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, and California. Some also landed in Canada and settled in Ontario, while others headed west to the prairie provinces. A study of passenger and immigration lists has shown a number of people bearing the name of Wolf, or one of its variants, reaching North America shores very early:

Wolf Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Claes Wolf, who arrived in New Netherland(s) in 1658 [1]
  • Thomas Wolf, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1683
Wolf Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John George Wolf, who settled in New England in 1709 with his wife, two sons, and two daughters
  • Hans Bernard Wolf, who settled in Philadelphia in 1727
  • Hans Bernard Wolf, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1727 [1]
  • Abraham Wolf, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1728 [1]
  • Jonas Wolf, who settled in Philadelphia in 1732
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Wolf Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Wolf, aged 30, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1805 [1]
  • Paul Wolf, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Frederick Wolf, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1833 [1]
  • Friedrich Philipp Christian Wolf, aged 27, who arrived in America in 1839 [1]
  • Christoph Wolf, aged 40, who landed in St Louis, Missouri in 1841 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Wolf Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Harnenn Wolf, who landed in Galveston, Tex in 1905 [1]

Canada Wolf migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Wolf Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Magdalena Wolf, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1742
  • Augustin Wolf, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
Wolf Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Wolf, who landed in Canada in 1841

Contemporary Notables of the name Wolf (post 1700) +

  • Kathleen Louise Wolf (1925-2020), née Munsterman, an American politician, member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1984 to 1986
  • Warren H. Wolf (1927-2019), American high school football head coach and politician, Member of the New Jersey General Assembly (1982-1984)
  • Charles Wolf Jr. (1924-2016), American senior economic advisor at the RAND Corporation (1955-2016)
  • Max Wolf, American Olympic sliver medalist for gymnastics at the 1904 Summer Gamesw
  • Richard A. "Dick" Wolf (b. 1946), American two-time Primetime Emmy Award and Grammy Award winning producer and writer
  • Randall Christopher "Randy" Wolf (b. 1976), American Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher
  • Emil Wolf Ph.D., (b. 1922), American (Czech born) physicist who made advancements in physical optics and as of 2006, a Professor of Optics at the University of Rochester
  • David Alexander Wolf M.D. (b. 1956), American astronaut and a veteran of four space shuttle missions and an extended stay aboard the Mir space station. As of 2006, he has logged 158 days in space
  • Shawn White Wolf, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Montana State House of Representatives 80th District, 2010 [2]
  • Albin Wolf (1920-1944), German fighter pilot and flying ace in the Luftwaffe, during World War II, credited with 144 aerial victories, awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross; he was shot down 2 April 1944
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Bismarck
  • Herbert Wolf (1920-1941), German Verwaltungsgefreiter who served aboard the German Battleship Bismarck during World War II when it was sunk heading to France; he died in the sinking [3]
  • Gerhard Wolf (1920-1941), 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 [3]
  • Edmund Wolf (1919-1941), German Mechanikersobergefreiter who served aboard the German Battleship Bismarck during World War II when it was sunk heading to France; he died in the sinking [3]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. George Alexanderson Wolf Jr., American Ensign from Pennsylvania, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [4]


The Wolf 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: Virtutis praemium
Motto Translation: Virtues reward.


Suggested Readings for the name Wolf +

  • 394 Jacob, Wolf, Burnet County Pioneer by R.S. Crawford, Jacob Wolf History by Merritt W. Wolfe, Descendants of Leonard Wolf, Sr., and Catherine Cripe, 1755-1984 by Ardelta Delores Wolfe Baker.

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  3. ^ Bismarck & Tirpitz Class - Crew List Bismarck. (Retrieved 2018, February 06). Retrieved from https://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/crew/bismarck_crew.html#crew_details
  4. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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