Familienverband der Hoffmann aus Sangerhausen e.V.

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The Hoffmann family – who we are

The name Hoffmann is quite common, only a few names are so popular. It is the tenth most common surname in Germany (after Müller, Schmidt, Schneider, Fischer, Weber, Meyer, Wagner, Becker, Schulz: all originally occupational names).

We are the German-Baltic Hoffmanns and all Hoffmanns whose ancestors lived in the Baltic States (i.e. mainly in Estonia and Latvia) are related to us.

However: “The Estonian Hoffmanns with their collateral lines do not – as originally assumed – form an independent whole: they are only a part, a branch of a widely branched family in Germany, which descends from the blacksmith Philipp Hoffmann from Sangerhausen (ca. 1540 – ca. 1610).” (Welding, Olaf: The Hoffmann family; Hamburg 1966)

The profession of “Hofmann” referred to the function of caretaker or administrator of a manorial estate or a patrician estate. The spelling of the name with only one f is closer to the old meaning and is more common in southern Germany. In eastern Germany, the name is even more common than in the south and north. In Silesia, for instance, Hoffmann was the fourth most common name (after Scholz, Müller, and Schmidt), while in the old federal states in 1977 it was the fifth most common name in both spellings (after Müller, Schmidt, Meyer, and Schneider) with 233,000 name bearers. Interestingly, in the West, the name Meyer (“Hausmeier”) has become established for the court administrator; which derives from the Latin term ‘maior domus’, the head of the household. This means that the same job title is derived from the Latin (Meyer in all spellings) in the west and from the Germanic language root (Hoffmann in all spellings) in the northeast [H. Bahlow, Deutsches Namenslexikon, 1988].