Friday, April 9, 2010


Among the Germanna Colonists, the name Fischbach became Fishback universally. Some other people may have adopted a different spelling and certainly the name is to be found in America as Fischbach. The general rule is that these people came later, at a time when spelling did matter. In the eighteenth century, exact spelling was not a requirement. For example, an early eighteenth century land patent refers to a Fischbach or Fishback as Fishbey.

The -bach to -back transition was almost universal. The Bach family of Freudenberg, with a bit of luck, became the Back family. I say with a bit of luck because the family came on the ship Oliver in 1738 and the ship never quite made it to the dock in Virginia. Of the eighteen family units recorded as leaving Freudenberg, only six made it to Virginia. (Maria Bach in Germany married George Weidmann in 1659 and was the grandmother of another successful 1738 immigrant, George Wayman.)

The Brumback name in America shows, rather nicely, how names evolved. In 1572, we have "Jost in der Braunbach." Only a generation or two earlier, in lieu of a last name, individuals are referred to as the son of another individual. Apparently, with the passage of time, the family members were identified by the name of the farm, Brombach or Brumbach, on which they lived. (A similar process occurs with the Blankenbakers whose name in Austria seems to have been taken from the name of the farm on which they lived.) It appears that some Brombachs who came to America adopted the spelling Brumbaugh.

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