The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Imhof


 Our research into the well-known name Imhof brings us to the state of Bavaria, which owes its name to the ancient tribe of the "Bajuvaren".


  During the Middle Ages the name has been found in Basel, where the name Imhof could be considered to make a great early contribution to the feudal society which became the backbone of early development of Europe. The name Imhof became prominent in local affairs and branched into many houses which played important roles in the savage tribal and national conflicts, each group seeking power and status in an ever changing territorial profile.


  Extensive research into the history and development of names has shown that spelling of a surname varies greatly over time. In the mediaeval period, when very few people knew how to write, scribes often recorded a name in official documents based on its sound. It was therefore possible that a name, depending on the local dialect, would even change between father and son.



            It was also common in Germany to add phrases to a name, in order to express something about a personīs place of origin, religious background, or even character. Among the many variations of the name Imhof we find Imhof, Imhoff, Immhof, Imhofen, Imhhof, Imhhoff, Imhoffe, Immhoff, Imhoffer, Imhauf, Imhauff, Imhauffer, Imhofin, Imhoof, Imhov, Imhove, Imhoven, to name a few examples.  


            Bearers of the family name emerged in Basel, which was established as the primary origin of the family name. The name flourished in this region for several centuries throughout the early Middle Ages. Later, from the mid 16th century, the family name migrated to other parts of the continent as family members pursued their varied interests, sometimes in the military, sometimes the religious milieu, and sometimes into politics. Through planned marriages which were advantageous socially and economically, they intermarried with the families of Geisslinghof, Gunzelhofen and Spielberg. Later, they achieved the distinction of being elevated to the ranks of the nobility as Knights in 1867. In this early period, prominent bearers of the surname Imhof were The Imhoffs of Geislinghof.


 The process of the widespread colonization of North America began in 1650, where many immigrants from Germany settled in pockets in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California, while in Canada, German settlements centered around the province of Ontario and the Prairie regions. Among these settlers we found Ludwig Immhoff who arrived in America in 1783; Fredrich Imhoff who arrived in Somerset County, Pa. in 1809; Heinrich Peter Imhoff who arrived in Texas in 1844; Andrew Imhauff who arrived in Allegheny County, Pa. in 1850; Michael Imhof who arrived in St. Clair County, Illinois in 1880; Philip Imhoff who was recorded as having arrived in Arkansas in 1904.


  Many bearers of the surname Imhof achieved prominence through their contributions to society, such as Baron von Imhoff, German religious painter; John Leonard Imhoff (b.1923), American educator.


  Research has determined the above Coat of Arms to be the most ancient recorded for the family surname Imhof.


Supplied by: The Hall of Names Inc.