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Anonymous wrote (on my Userpage):

Stop deleting relevant content from Freiherr, and stop readding the nonsense about the "von". The article is dealing with the title of Freiherr, and not the predicate "von". Which "the von" are you talking about, in any event? Many Freiherren/herrinnen/frauen doesn't even have a "von" in their name. The use of the "von" can be dealt with in the relevant article, von or in the general article related to German nobility.

My reply: Maybe you are right. But for example the Nobility FAQ (and also the article on de.wikipedia) give other information than that what you are putting again and again in the article. So maybe it would be good if you can give some sources for your view, that "Freiherr" is identical to "Baron", spoken as "Baron" almost always and something completly different than the "v." issue. -- till we | Talk 15:57, 28 May 2004 (UTC)


I understood that [1] says something else but in germany nowadays the daughter of a Freiherr is called Freiin. This is also written in the german article. Are there other hints than [1] that I might be wrong? I would be happy, because Freiherrin is the nicer word :-) -- 21:35, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Freiherrin is not normally used. Freiin is the daughter of a Freiherr, a Freifrau his wife. Nowadays just as much as historically. Cyan22 (talk) 14:55, 2 April 2012 (UTC)


A "Freiherr" has no right to be styled "Lord" in English-speaking countries. End of story. Freiherr and titles of nobility were abolished in Germany in 1918. Barony in Scotland is still legal - and sold as such. So they are NOT the same. Skull 'n' Femurs 23:37, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

No, you're thinking of Austria. They can still retain the titles of nobility in Germany, it's just that they have no authority as noblemen, anymore. -Alex 12:29, 29 December 2005 (UTC).


Free Lord... This is not a title... It is a quality. The title in this case is that of baron, which would be a free lord but not "Free Lord of...", etc. Charles 18:25, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

In this very article, we should explain also about ranks, not just about titles. Therefore that specific quality should be noted, as it qualifies as a distinct rank. I am not unhappy with it being another "baron" with some explanatory words in the listings of the article, but I am against its total suppression. By the way, the long-time existence of the article Free Lord, which I requested to be merged because it is so short, but has not yet been, is an indication that the said term is used at least in some English contexts. Are they technical contexts? Research contexts? would like to know.. Suedois 18:33, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
It may benote a specific rank, but it is not a specific title. Compare a Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha with any Duke of Mecklenburg. The Free Lord article is essentially a stub and should be merged with Baron rather than Freiherr. It is wrong in being titled Free Lord... The translation of Freiherr to English is Baron. Charles 18:45, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Have you considered carefully why to merge to baron? would like to hear good reasons. Suedois 18:52, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
The idea of "Free Lord" is what led to the development of the English title baron. Also, in German, a Freiherr is called a Freiherr, sometimes a Baron (a borrowed word, seemingly in Austria). In English, they are always called Baron. Charles 18:54, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Freiherr vs. Baron[edit]

The reversions of this article to minimize the meaning in relation to the English title of baron are absolutely uncalled for. There are many examples of things that have a literal meaning and then a common, but just as correct, meaning. For instance, the literal translation of the titles held by the children and male-line grandchildren of a Russian tsar is Great Prince but we use the title Grand Duke. Freiherren are always called barons in English. Charles 16:30, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I would like to know what is going on here with this article? Gryffindor 16:43, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
  • God knows where this fixation for the literary meaning comes from, in few titles that's still functionally relevant (but a matter of interest in se).

The point is another one. Freiherr is a German word, not (just or primarily) an English word, that is used in the following cases:

  1. in German as an authentic title, notably in the (former) Holy Roman Empire. Here it is absolutely wrong to replace it with anything else, it is a unique title, and NOT a synonym of Baron; there are other unique titles in German, including several 'comital' ones ending in -graf (e.g. Landgraf, Reichsgraf and Freigraf, circa Count, but also Markgraf = Margrave, rather at par with Marquess i.e. a full step higher, and Wildgraf well below), and in no case a simplistic translation is advisable, either keep it in German or mildly anglicize it (e.g. Margrave; not form for Freiherr). Alongside it, a German title Baron, exactly like the other European Baronial titles (although, these aren't really exactly at par, even abstraction made from generic uses as in medieval English for what later became the peerage) has been introduced, which did NOT replace Freiherr, but coexisted; in informal language these may get mixed up, but actually the existing majority of Freiherren retained their title unless explicitly changed (it was not uncommon for a obe family to be given another title for an existing princely fief, usually a promotion). (When baronial titles in other languages are rendered in German, Baron is usual, not Freiherr)
  2. in other languages, for a continental European incumbent authentically styled Freiherr - two subcases:
    1. in some languages including my native Dutch (like German, of continental West Germanic sub-family, most of the vocabulary is cognate, except for -usually international- terms of Latin origin; the Low Countries were for the most part of the Holy Roman empire, so our Princes of the Empire had 'colleagues' in Germany styled Freiherr), there is an equivalent title, in my example Vrijheer (literal equivalent of Freiherr: 'free Lord'; and even Vrijheerschap 'free lordship' for the feudal estate), and either this or the German original can be used correctly, as we tend to do in Dutch; in works of vulgarisation, especially for children, many authors prefer to 'simplify' things by using a simplism, in this case Baron (and thus lay the seeds for ignorance to keep festering), but an encyclopaedia certainly must do better
    2. in other languages, like English (I think; if someone knows of an established 'anglicized' title of the same status as Margrave, hypothetically 'Freilord', please contribute it, preferably with a source) there is no such choice, so there are two options: the correct one is to retain the authentical German Freiherr, the simplistic one to 'equate' as Baron; since virtually no Freiherr was high enough on the feudal ladder to raise much interest beyond his home region, few allophone sources will take the trouble to explain in detail (provided the author actually knows); the situation is not unlike that of the aberrant British title Earl (derived from Norse Jarl, yet not identical in Scandinavia), which applies only in Britain and some other parts of the present Commonwealth, where Count would be wrong, while continental European counts may not be called earl, but in other languages they both translate the same (Graf in German, Graaf in Dutch, Comte in French etc.), without being identical, so when the author is in the know he should take care and probably explain in the text or at least a footnote or glossary, but often they feel the target audience is not up to it, would be distracted, etcetera

The whole thing IS complicated, and therefore fascinating; oversimplifying it would be a damned shame Fastifex 06:16, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

One of the three pillars of Wikipedia is no original research. Virtually every English-language scholarly work which deals with Freiherren translates this word as "Baron". If Fastifex can cite the use of the term "free lord" in English-language works, then he should do so. Noel S McFerran 10:13, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
I do NOT advocate the use of 'free lord' in English or other languages where it is indeed not established, which is why is just mention as such the literal translation 'burried' in parenthesis, but the correct use (and certainly definition, as on this content page) of Freiherr. Fastifex 12:40, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

That German has a word "Baron" which is used for foreign Barons, while their own barons are called "Freiherr," does not change the fact that the English translation of "Freiherr" is "Baron." For instance, Baron von Stein. Which is not to say that "Freiherr" is not sometimes used untranslated, or that we should not be careful to distinguish what the proper German usage is. But the terms are still approximately equivalent. john k 12:11, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

The problem is: the Gemans has a word "Baron", which is for foreign Barons as well as German Barons, but not for "their own barons" called "Freiherr". So I guess this problem (A -> B, B -> B, B = A?, B = B?) should at least be mentioned in the article. Why is this a problem? -- till we | Talk 15:27, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes. But how much of a problem is this? We seem able to keep track of it with Earls and Counts in English. john k 16:18, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
fair enough. I still don't understand why User:Fastifex insists on completely striking out the entry (German for Baron, lit. Free Lord), User:Cfvh and now User:Mcferran have reverted it multiple times and I don't see a problem either with the entry. Freiherr after all, regardless of all the details of usage, is commonly translated as Baron. Gryffindor 09:16, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
The problem, of course, is that someone(s) want obstinately use a similar formula (with translation in formulaic parentheses) as dictionaries do: "Freiherr' (German for Baron, lit. Free Lord) is ..." - although it is not a suitable form in this case. Freiherr does not have a direct translation, and baron's only translation to German is NOT Freiherr, so forget trying to be a dictionary. This is an encyclopedia. Instead, EXPLAIN textually how approximate that translation to baron is, and explain what the concept means and how it is used. For a starters, I would forbid to use those parentheses here because it just has lead to an edit war between some. Suedois 10:12, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I like your approach, Suedois. Noisy | Talk 10:59, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Sweden did not go over to a unicameral parliament in 1905. In fact, no domestic constitutional changes took place in 1905 whatsoever. What the author must be referring to is the abolition of the Riksdag of the Estates in 1866 and its replacement with a bicameral Riksdag. (The unicameral parliament was introduced in 1970.) But this reform did not take away the power of ennoblement, which was removed by the Instrument of Government of 1974, but which was last exercised in 1917 (I think; Sven Hedin). So, changes will be made. David ekstrand 00:05, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

More to the point, if I may, is why we have entries at all. If someone - particularly an Anglophone - comes across the word Freiherr in use and wishes to look it up, this article does everything that user needs: defines, clarifies and gives examples. It would be a disservice to users to switch to English usage. LTC David J. Cormier (talk) 14:17, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Title translation[edit]

Translation of titles is in fact a complicated matter. Different realms had/have different laws concerning just about everything on honors systems. There are large similarities among countries with similar judicial traditions, for instace Sweden and Denmark. However, to try to translate titles in to English such as with "free lord" is just ridicolous. For one thing the germanic "Herr" does not have the same meening as "Lord", not even nearly. I think it is perfectly fine to translate "freiherr/friherre" to baron, if it is mentioned that it only approximate translation or something like that.

Finnish sections on matters concerning nobility are just leading astray. Finland was a part of Swedish realm with no local special regulations on these matters and no special legal standing whatsoever. When Finland was annexed by Russia in 1809, Russia created Finland a separate integral Grand Duchy but continued to exercise Swedish law in that region. Not until the Finnish independence in 1917 did Finland become a relevant region on these matters, but at that time laws concerning nobility were abolished. It is enough to mention that the finnish translation of the word "friherre" is "vaapaherra". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:35, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Parallel titles section[edit]

"Similar titles have been seen in all historically German dominated parts of Europe – the Baltic States, Austria–Hungary, Sweden, Finland and to some extend in Denmark-Norway.[3]" - this is nonsense in most ways. Sweden, Norway and Finland was rarely affiliated with Germany before and after WW2. The term 'Baltic States' in the most colloquial sense refers to the republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, none of which have titles for nobility, since they gained independence during the breakup of the Soviet Union. Austria-Hungary was ruled by the House of Habsburg, completely independently from other German-speaking countries (save for the time when the Emperor of Austria and the King of Hungary (separate states) also held the title of Holy Roman Emperor). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:14, 18 July 2010 (UTC)


Title for unmarried daughter of Freiherr is Freiin, not Freiherrin. German article says "Die weibliche Form lautet „Freifrau“ (Baronin) für die Frau eines Freiherrn bzw. „Freiin“ (Baronesse) für die ledige Tochter eines Freiherrn." and as this title is German, I presume that Germans editors know this better. --Yopie (talk) 16:29, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

the baron production business[edit]

This page of a degree mill's website took me to this mumbo-jumbo-filled PDF, which suggests to me that some people are paying other people to call them "baron". Should this article say something about the contemporary production of "barons"? -- Hoary (talk) 07:43, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

This is clearly a "paper mill" ennoblement factory with a bill of sale. I don’t know how common it is in this manor. More common are people just adding titles to their legal names or noble daughters’ husbands taking their wife’s title as their last name.--CSvBibra (talk) 01:17, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Freiherr as part of name since 1919[edit]

Is there anything in German law to stop e.g. Herr Josef Bloggs calling his son Josef Freiherr von Bloggs"? --TraceyR (talk) 21:26, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

It is more complex but in short if Herr Josef Bloggs is German citizen, he can't change his legal name to Freiherr von Bloggs. If he married a Freiin von Bloggs, that may be possible.--CSvBibra (talk) 01:11, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
My question relates to what Josef Bloggs can call his newborn son on the birth certificate. I realise that German civil servants can refuse parents' wishes for names which their consider unusual; can they refuse the use of erstwhile titles such as Freiherr? No doubt if Josef Bloggs (and his highly-pregnant wife) were to cross the border to a neighbouring for the birth (and subsequent registration) there would be no restrictions, but would this choice of name be allowed in Germany? --TraceyR (talk) 08:49, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
If Josef Bloggs family was historically "Freiherr von Bloggs" but perhaps was an Austrian citizen born after WWI, he would likely have a good chance of getting "Freiherr von Bloggs" on the birth certificate. If there was no historical connection, it would very likely not be allowed. However, as you referenced, I have heard about a case from an uncle several decades ago where someone (without a title)had his name changed outside of Germany to an aristocratic name and then moved to Germany and got it accepted.--CSvBibra (talk) 06:07, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Since WWI, the surname that goes into a person's birth certificate in Germany and Austria is either the surname of the person's mother, or, if married (or the father agrees) the father's surname. Nothing else is possible. This means the following: In Germany, if the birth certificate is for Josef Freiherr von Bloggs' son, he would be Freiherr von Bloggs there. The same applies if German citizen Josef Freiherr von Bloggs registers his son's birth in Austria. If Bloggs is an Austrian cititzen, he cannot have the Freiherr von in any document. Plus, please consider the following: Under Austrian law, no person can become an Austrian citizen simply on the grounds of having been born in Austria. In order to be an Austrian citizen, at least one of your parents must be a citizen already. And the moment German citizen Josef Freiherr von Bloggs would become naturalized in Austria, he would turn into "Josef Bloggs" anyway. Full stop. Hope this helps... Adelshaus (talk) 14:50, 18 March 2012 (UTC)