Lehrer

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Lehrer, potentially recorded in various spellings including Lehr, Lehrer, Lehrian and Lehrmann, is a surname that can be either Germanic or Jewish.

Origin[edit]

Lehrer has several possible origins. The first two possible origins are:

Teacher[edit]

The most probable option for the origin of the Lehrer surname is from the word Lehrer, meaning teacher or rabbi in the German language. This may be religious or it may describe a teacher in a traditional elementary school. It would depend on the particular circumstances at the time that the surname was given out or adopted.

Locational[edit]

The origin may be topographical and derive from the ancient pre-7th-century word lehr akin to the English 'leah', and as such describing an enclosure suitable for agriculture or a water meadow, one which was flooded in winter but dried out for summer grazing. There are several places in Southern Germany and Austria called 'Lehr'. These place names might have derived from old water meadows.

Having researched the Lehrer name for many years, the topographical-locational option certainly seems likely for some of the other potential spellings which have been suggested and would be possible for the lineage in southern Germany. This would also fit with what one Lehrer family researcher has noted about the Lehrer name in Dabo, France for the year 1772:

“If this is an occupational name, then this would have been relatively rare as this was at the beginning of the time when surnames were given based on a man's occupation.”

Jewish Lehrers[edit]

There is a well documented family that trace their lineage to a Jewish teacher in Poland. While possible, it appears very unlikely that the southern German and the Jewish family lines are connected.

The possible link from the Rhineland Lehrers to the Polish line relates to emigration from France and southern Germany. There was no systematic, official method of emigration, and few emigration lists are available, yet significant numbers of emigrants were known to leave southern Germany and Alsace during the following periods:

  • 1618 to 1648 and immediately after: The Thirty Years' War created large movements in and around what is today southern Germany.
  • 1650 to 1750: Large numbers depart central Europe for the new opportunities in America
  • 1722: Alsatian colonies established in the Holy Roman Empire (Austria-Hungary).
  • 1764 to 1786: Alsatians colonise Russia, Ukraine, and Banat.
  • 1789 to 1791: About 500,000 refugees flee the French Revolution for neighbouring nations and the Americas. About half later returned.
  • 1804 to 1832: Additional Alsatians emigrate to Ukraine, Bessarabia, and Banat.

Also the registres d'options de noms 1808 became a de facto census of the Jewish people of France. The numbers are interesting. According to a list in the Archives nationales there were 46,054 Jewish people in France who chose permanent names. The majority were in the departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, and Moselle, areas that some Lehrer families lived in. In each, the head of a family, usually the husband and father, gives for each family member his or her name, date and place of birth, and the surname and forenames chosen.

Germanic Lehrers[edit]

There are a number of Lehrer families originating in southern Germany, north, west France, Austria and Bavaria, although unlikely some of these different lineages may all originate from the one family. By following the birth places of the people furthest back in the known Lehrer family lines, as we move further back in time, there is a consistent movement into the Rhineland, in particular to two nearby cities either side of the Rhine, Landau and Strasbourg.

The earliest known record of births and marriages for Lehrer families are the children of Georg Lehrer and his wife Sibilla who lived in Bayern, Germany and they had three known children who were all baptised in Evangelisch, Landau in Pfalz Stadt, Pfalz, Bavaria

  • Christianus Lehrer - Baptised 18 August 1577
  • Maria Lehrer - Baptised 2 June 1581
  • Margaretha Lehrer – Baptised 24 May 1584

Commercial heraldry websites indicate that there is a Lehrer family crest, they do however promote other surnames of a similar spelling as having the same family crest. If there is a Lehrer crest, likely recordings of who this was issued to and where they were from would be in German Bavaria or Württemberg as during the late 1500s and the early part of the 1600s, almost all recorded Lehrer, birth, death and marriages appear to be located in this region.

Moving into the late 1600s and early 1700s the recorded births, deaths and marriages spread out through the Rhineland and include Alsace which was partially independent and is now a part of France, Austria, Wurrtemburg and other parts of Germany.

By the late 1700s and early 1800s, a significant number of Lehrers moved elsewhere around the world, specifically to the Americas.

Famous Lehrers[edit]

See also[edit]