What’s in a Name?
If you google the surname Weddle, you’ll get a lot of hits about the Scottish surname and coat of arms. But, I can tell you with certainty that our Weddles are not Scottish. Early census and immigration records denote myriad variant spellings of our name: Weddle, Waidel, Wedel, Waddle, Weddell. And searching on these variations leads to a result that is plausible, given the ancestral records.
- habitational name from any of various places called Wedel or Wedell, all in northern Germany
- (in northwestern Germany) topographic name for someone who lived in a forest
- from Middle Low German wede ‘wood’, ‘forest’ + lo ‘brush’, ‘wood’.
So, we come from Germany, do we?
Our earliest known ancestor, Hans Georg, is believed to have been from Saxony, Germany. Unfortunately, there are many places in Germany that include the word “saxony” in them. And they really aren’t close to each other on the map. So, it’s pretty hard to say for certain where the Weddle family started out in Germany. Choices include:
- Saxony, on the eastern border of Germany near the Czech Republic
- Saxony-Anhalt, in the center of Germany, west of Berlin
- Lower Saxony, on the west coast of Germany (includes the city of Hamburg)
We also might want to remember that there’s a town in Germany called Wedel. It happens to be in Lower Saxony on the Elbe River about 30 minutes west of Hamburg.
To further complicate things, let’s not forget that Hans Georg’s son, Hans Micheal, is listed as being born in Handschuhsheim, Baden-Wurttenberg, which is on Germany’s southern border and includes the town of Stuttgart.
Honestly, if you plot all these possibilities on a map, we could literally be from anywhere in the country; every region of Germany is accounted for. Of course, one meaning of the name Weddle that I found (whose source is now a mystery, dangit!) was “a person who travels from town to town.” That would certainly be true of this crew!
Family Myths and Legends
David’s Bible – story coming later