Origin of the surname Imhof 

The German surname Imhof is derived from an origin name. When the origin of a surname is defined by the place, where the person lives, it indicates the living place or the native country of the antecessor or founder of the family. The name can indicate that the person who used initially this surname had a door-plate with his name or the name engraved over the main entrance of his house, or it can mean that the place, where this person lived was situated at a determined city or village, or even that the place was marked by a geographic or topographic particularity.  In this case, the surname Imhof had its origin in the expression “in dem Hof” (= in the courtyard). The original meaning of the German word “Hof” was a space with walls or buildings round it. Along the years, the term referred to the complex of buildings itself and more generalized to a house, residence or property. The later meanings of the word Herrenwohnsitz (residence) and Schloss (castle) where influenced of the french word “court”. An old reference to the name is a note of Ulrich im Hove, that was written in Konstanz (Bodensee) on 1258.


Germany was one of the first countries in Occidental Europe that used fixed surnames, which where passed from one generation to another. We find for example on the “Ulmischen Urkundenbuch” (Book of documents of Ulm) a registered surname, which can be verified until 1208. There are many German names recorded until the 12th century. Important personalities, who had this surname were: the Statesman Georg von Imhof (1601-1659), the General Philip Ernst Baron von Imhof, who died on 1768 and the Philosopher, Physicist and Mathematician Maximus von Imhof  (1758-1817).


Source: The Historical Research Center.

Supplied by: Projeto Imigrantes.