Westphalia (Westfalen) Personal Names

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Westphalia (Westfalen) Personal Names

Germany Personal Names[edit | edit source]

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Be sure to see Germany Personal Names for major information. The following article only adds some regional specifics to that article.

It is a well-known fact that in many areas of Germany there is a widespread use of Hofnamen or 'farm names' used.  This is especially true for Westfalen.  Terms such as modo, vulgo, genannt, and alias indicate this naming practice.  Men often take on the wife's surname if moving onto her property. Be aware that as people moved, this might change their surname and it may revert back and forth within the same records.  This doesn't mean that research in Westfalen is not possible but it does mean that extra care needs to be taken to make sure that the correct people are included in the family group and that no one is accidentally overlooked.  Because of these farm names you will often see place names which end in "kamp" or "feld". More about Hofnamen can be studied here.