The Zella family name first began to be used in the German state of Bavaria
. After the 12th century, hereditary surnames
were adopted according to fairly general rules, and names that were derived from locations became particularly common. The family name Zella is a local
surname. Originally denoting the proprietorship of an estate or influence within a village, the German preposition von, which means from or of, used with local names, was taken as a mark of aristocracy. The surname Zella was given to someone who lived in the place named Zell. This place-name can be found in several areas in Germany
, but the most well known town of this name is in the region of Freiburg, which is in the Schwarzwald,
or the Black Forest,
just north of the Swiss border. The place-name has appeared in several countries where the Germanic people had influence.
Early Origins of the Zella family
The surname Zella was first found in Bavaria
, 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 became prominent in local
affairs and branched into many houses which played important roles in the savage tribal and national conflicts, each group seeking supremacy in constantly changing power relations. Chronicles first mention Ulrich Zeller of Esslingen in 1282 and Dietrich Czelleman of Muehlhausen in Saxony
in 1393. The name originates in the Latin word "cella," which was taken into mediaeval German in the word "Klosterzelle."
Early History of the Zella family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Zella research.Another 235 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1630, 1477, 1548, 1497, 1562, 1503, 1462, 1560, 1683 and 1763 are included under the topic Early Zella History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Zella Spelling Variations
In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians
spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations
of the name Zella include Zeller, Zellers, Zell, Zelle, Zella, Zellmer, Zelleman, Zellaman, Zellemann, Zellner, Zelmer, Zelman, Zelkmann, Zellman, Zelner, Zellerman and many more.
Early Notables of the Zella family (pre 1700)
Prominent among members of the name Zella in this period include Matthäus (Matias) Zell (1477-1548), a Lutheran theologian and reformer based in Strasbourg; and his wife Katharina Zell, née Schütz (1497-1562), a German Protestant writer during the Reformation; Ulrich Zell... Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Zella Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Zella family to the New World and Oceana
The great European flow of migration to North America, which began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century, was particularly attractive to those from Bavaria
who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. For many Bavarian tenant
farmers, the chance to own their own land was a major incentive. So 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 settlement centered in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Among those of this surname listed in various historical records were: Bacshe Zeller, who came with his wife Verena Schaublin and their three children to Carolina in 1749; Heinrich Zeller came to Philadelphia in 1738; Peter Zell came to Philadelphia County in 1734.