Hoffman Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This primarily German (and Jewish) last name developed as a status name for a steward of a farm or estate, deriving from the German words hoff (manor farm or courtyard) and mann (man). The spelling variant Hoffman is a Dutch occupational name for a gardener or farm laborer, referring to a person who worked at the hof, meaning the manner farm. The name originally referred to a farmer who owned their own land (as opposed to renting as part of the feudal system in medieval Europe), but eventually came to denote a steward or manager of a manor farm, which were very common in eastern and central Europe. Of course, the name is present in German speaking countries, but it also extends out into other European countries. In his book, An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names, William Arthur states this is a Dutch name that derived from Hoodfdman, meaning a captain or cirector or head/chief man, deriving from the word hof, meaning court, the man of the court. Some claim the name originated in Silesia, a region of central Europe that today has parts in Germany, Poland, and Czech Republic.
The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia: “The Hoffman family of New York is a prominent family whose ancestor Martin Hoffman was born in Reval (now Tallinn), then the capital of Swedish Estonia. He emigrated to the Dutch colony of New Netherland in 1657. Among his descendants were Governor of New York John T. Hoffman, Congressman Ogden Hoffman, New York Attorney General Josiah Ogden Hoffman, State Senator Anthony Hoffman, several clergymen of the Dutch Reformed Church, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt”.
Some spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Hoffmann, Hafemann, Havemann, Huffman, Gofman, Hofmans, Hodman, Huffmann, Houffman, and others.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Hoffman ranks 195th in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following nine states: South Dakota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, New Jersey, and Alaska.
The surname Hoffman frequency/commonness ranks as follows in various countries in Europe or with European heritage: Germany (1,222nd), Austria (2,793rd), Switzerland (4,390th), Belgium (6,268th), Netherlands (2,108th), Sweden (821st), New Zealand (1,221), South Africa (452nd), Canada (746th), Australia (876th), Israel (257th), Poland (1,691st), Hungary (2,149th), and the Czech Republic (4,393rd).
Hoffman Family Tree & Hoffman Genealogy
Hans-Matthes Hoffmann was born in Brucken, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany around 1497 AD. He married a daughter of the Ketter family and daughter with her named Barbel. Barbel Hoffmann was born prior to 1568. She married Conrad Hoffmann and they had a son. This son, Jakob Hoffmann, was born in Brucken, Germany in 1584. He married Margaretha Reis and they had a daughter named Margaretha who was born in 1721 and married Michel Carius in 1644. They had a son named Franz who was born in Ausweiler, Rheinland in 1655.
Friedrich Hofman zu Grunbuchel, formerly Hoffman, was born at a unknown time and place, the son of Friedrich Hofmann zu Farmach and Kunegund con Graswein. It is thought the family immigrated from Bavaria, but the name Von Graswein is a Styrian noble bname. In 1491, he married Margarteha Puchler. They had a son named Johann. This son, Johann (or Hanns) Hoffmann or Hofmann (Freiherr zu Gruenpuchel und Strechauu) was born in Herzogtum Steiermark in around 1492. He was recorded as a Ritter in records, which was the equivalent of being a Knight. He converted to Lutheranism prior to his death. His son was named Ferdinand. This Ferdinand Hoffmann was born in Graz, Herzogtum Steiermark, Heiliges Romisches Reich (Graz, Austria), in 1540. He married twice: Margareta Harrach and Elisabeth Dohna . He had a son named Andreas and three daughters. His son, Andreas Hoffman was born around 1570. He married Johanna Apollonia von Kolowrat in Prague in 1603.
Peter Hoffman was born in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany in 1500. His son, Michael, was born in the same town in 1525. He had a son named Matthias. This son, Matthias Hoffmann, was born in the same city in 1551. He married Elisabeth Bechen and had a son with her named Jost. Jost Hoffmann was born in Nordrhein-Westfalen in 1589. He married Lucella Schutz and had three issue with her: Kraft, Susane, and Gottliebe. His son, Kraft Hoffmann, was born in the same area in 1611. He married Mechtild Muller and had a son with her named Jost Wihelm. Jost Wihelm Hoffmann was born in Bad Laasphe-Banfe, Germany in 1636. He died in 1636.
Philip Hoffman was born in Germany around 1660. He married Katharina Stern, and had a son with her named Wilhelm. This son, Wilhelm Johann Hoffman (also called Jansz) was born in Bocholt bei Arnheim, Nord-Rhein, Germany in 1695. He married Anna Johanna de Neijs. He went to south Africa. He had children named Elisabeth, Jan, Anna, Alette Johanna, Johanna, and Wilhelmina.
Marten Hermanzen "Martinus" Hoffman was born in Reval, Gulf of Finalnd, Sweden, or modern day Tallinn, Estonia in 1625. He was the son of Griete Hoffmann, his mother, who was born in Tallinn, Jarumma, Estonia in 1590. He immigrated to colonial America in 1657. He married twice: Lysbeth Hermans in Brooklyn New Netherlands in 1663 and Rinelt Claessen de With the following year. He had the following children: Annetje, Marritje, Zacharias, Tjaatje, and Nicholas.
His son Nicholas (or Niclaas) Hofman was born in Ulster County, New York around 1680. In 1780, he married Jannetje Crispel, and had issue with her including Martin and Petrus. Martin was born in 1706 and he had a daughter named Cornelia who married into the Roosevelt family.
His other son Zacharias Hofman was born in Albany, New York around 1675. He married Hester Bruyn. He had the following issue: Geertruyd, Janneke, Maria, Zacharias Jr, Jacobus, Isa, Niclaes, and Margaret. His son Zacharias Hoffman Jr. was born in Shawangunk, New York in 1717. He married Maria Terwilliger. He had the following children: Martinus, Zacharius, Zara (Schoonmaker), Hester (Vanderlyn), Every, Maria (Decker), Zacharius III, and Nicolaas. His son Zacharias Hoffmann II was born in the same town in 1755. He married Maria J. Terwilliger and had the following children: Zacharias IV, Maria, Benjamin, Nicholas, John Jay, and Elizabeth.
Gottlieb Hoffman was born in Poland around 1830. He came to the US and passed away in Pennsylvania in 1837. His wife was named Analia Rode and they had a son named August. August Hoffman was born in Russia in 1864 and came to New York in 1906 with his wife (Caroline Boese) and his eight children. His issue were as follows: Sigismmund, Adeline, Reinhold, Amelia, Marie (Hilsman), Julius, Edward, Otelia, Martha Clara (Sheeder), and Lydia Ruth (Leacher). His son Richard Hoffman married Anna Rebecca Smeltz in Ohio in 1918. He had the following issue prior to his 1957 death in Oakland County, Michigan: Ruth, Martha May (Darling), Verna Marie (Darling), Dorothy (Rice), Lydia Margaret (Marotz), Viola (Golombisky), Karline Elizabeth, Berry (Williams), Harvey, Robert, and Ronald.
Early American and New World Settlers
Early settlers in colonial America bearing this surname include Henrig Hoffman (New York 1709), Conrad Hoffmann (New York 1710), Gabriel Hoffman (New York 1710), and Hanss Peter Hoffmann (Philadelphia 1710), Hans Leonhard Hoffmann (Maryland 1719), Anna Cathatine Hoffman (1726), Henerick Hoffman (Pennsylvania 1727), Hans George Hoffmann (1730), and David Hoffman (Pennsylvania 1733).
In Canada, some of the first settlers bearing this surname include: Barbara Hoffman, Caspar Hoffman, Dorothea Hoffman, and Henrich Hoffman who came to Nova Scotia in 1757.In 1850, Freiderike Hoffman came to Quebec in 1850. In Australia, H.J. Hoffman came to Adelaide in 1837 aboard the South Australian. G. Hoffman same to South Australia in 1848 aboard the Victoria. In 1847, J. Samuel Hoffman, a farmer aged 52 years, came to South Australia in 1847 aboard the Gellert. The next year, Carl Hoffmann, a blacksmith aged 38 years, came to South Australia aboard the Alfred. In New Zealand, several members of this family came to Auckland aboard the Nimroud in 1860, including William, Sophia, Frederick, and Henry A. Hoffman.
Early Americans Bearing the Hoffman Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains two entries for this surname:
1) Per fess argent and vert, in chief three pines, crest: a cock. Motto: Carpe diem. Bookplate Very Rev. E. A. Hoffman, Gen. Theol. Sem., N. Y., E. D. French, sc. Some Amer. Coll. Bookplates, 1915, p. 243.
2) Per fess argent and vert in chief three growing trees, crest: a cock. Motto: Carpe diem Bookplate Rev. C. F. Hoffman, D. D., LL.D.
Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook (1907) contains one entry with this last name:
1) Colonel Martinus Hoffman, 1707-1772, Justice of the Peace and a distinguished officer in the Colonial and Revolutionary Armies. Arms: Argent, on a mount vert three pine trees proper. Crest: A cock proper.
Crozier’s General Armory (1904) do not contains two entries for this name:
1) Jacob Hoffman of New York, 1658. Arms: Argent, on a mount very three pine trees proper. Crest: A cock proper. Motto: Carpe diem.
2) Henry J. Hoffman, Esquire of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Arms: Ermine, three lozenges gules. Crest: Issuing out of the top of a tower a demi-lady proper attired azure, holding in the dexter hand a garland of laurel vert.
I have identified two Hoffman family motto: 1) Beständig I hoppet, which is Swedish, and roughly translates into English means “Steady in hope” or “Persistent in hope”, and 2) Carpe Diem, which is Latin for “Seize the day”.
We have 77 coats of arms for the Hoffman surname depicted here. These 77 blazons are from Johannes Rietstap’s Armorial General which was first published in 1861. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore a Hoffman Coat of Arms (or mistakenly called the Hoffman Family Crest).
August Wilhelm von Hofmann
There are hundreds of notable people with the Hoffman surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Abbot Howard Hoffman (1936-1989) who was a radical American social/political activist and anarchist who co-founded the Youth International Party, born in Worcester, Massachusetts, 2) August Wilhelm von Hofmann (1818-1892) who was a German chemist born in Giessen, Hesse who became the first director of the Royal College of Chemistry in London, England in 1845, 3) Benjamin Isaac Hoffman (1974) who is an American actor, writer, comedian and country music singer who performs under the name Wheeler Walker Jr., born in Lexington, Kentucky, 4) Ben Hoffman (1983) who is an American triathlete from Grand Junction, Colorado who came in 2nd place at the 2014 Ironman World Championship, 5) Carl Henry Hoffman (1896-1980) who was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania from 1946-1947, 6) Albert Hofmann (1906-2008) who was a Swiss scientist who was the first person to synthesize lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 7) Fred Hofmann (1894-1964) who was an American baseball player born in St. Louis, Missouri, who was nicknamed “Bootnoose” and played for two different teams (New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox) from 1919-1928, having plated in the 1923 World Series, 8) William Hoffman (1807-1884) who was a US Army officer in the 1800s, born in Rock Island, Illinois, who served in the Black Hawk War, Seminole Wars, Mexican-American War, and American Civil War (he was the General in charge of prisoners), 9) Ogden Hoffman who was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York between 1837-1941, and 10) Harold Giles Hoffman (1896-1954) who was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for New Jersey from 1927-1931 and later the 41st Governor of New Jersey between 1935-1938.