The surname Zelek is a ancient German name that originated in the Rhineland
. While the Germans at first used only one name, population increases created confusion among people of the same name, forcing them to adopt hereditary surnames
. Two common types of German names are patronymic
names, taken from the given name of the father, and metronymic names, taken from the name of the mother. Zelek was derived from the baptismal name for the son of Selig, which originated as a pet form of several German personal names, including Salger, Salafrid and Selibrand.
Early Origins of the Zelek family
The surname Zelek 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 the surname was identified with the great social and economic evolution which made this Prussian territory an important factor in the development of the nation. The literal meaning of this name in its mediaeval context was "happy" or "cheerful." Ancient chronicles first mention a bearer of this name, one Godefrid Selicheit of the ancient imperial city of Worms, around 1196.
Early History of the Zelek family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Zelek research.Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1196, 1365, 1370, and 1464 are included under the topic Early Zelek History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Zelek 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 Zelek include Selig, Seliger (Silesia), Seelig, Seeliger, Seelinger, Zelig, Seliche, Solige, Selege, Selik, Selich, Zelich, Zelik, Selligman, Seligman, Seligmann, Selichman and many more.
Early Notables of the Zelek family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Zelek Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Zelek family to the New World and Oceana
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 Zelek were among of the early German families that came to North America: Johannes G. Seelig, who sailed to Germantown, Pa. in 1694; Johann Selig, who sailed to Philadelphia in 1751; J.H. Selligman to Philadelphia in 1753; Barbara Selig to Texas in 1844.
Zelek Family Crest Products