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Hoffmann Family History

The surname Hoffmann is occupational, from the German roots ?Hoff? (farm, estate) and Mann (man). The appellation would belong to the steward of a manorial farm or estate, although some have thought it at first applied to a land owner rather than a man who held his land in ?fief?. However, it is in the sense of ?middleman? or steward that the surname developed throughout German speaking countries and eastern Europe generally. It was also borne by Jewish people, and therefore has Ashkenazic provenance.

In Germany the surname is ranked at 10th in the list of most common names. The variant Hofmann occupies the 23rd place in the rankings. The name is scattered the length and breadth of Germany, with high concentrations in Niedersachsen (Detmold), Hessen, Schleswig-Holstein, Sachsen etc

Emigrant bearers of the surname arrived in the U.S.A. in the early 18th century in New York and Philadelphia. Throughout the 19th century more Hoffmann emigrants arrived in the north, as well as in the southern states of Texas and Louisiana.

The U.S. Federal Census of 1920 has high concentrations of Hoffmann in the states of New York, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri. In the U.S.A. the name ranks at 2, 082 with 15, 970 bearers.

Two Famous Hoffmanns

Melchior Hoffmann (alias Hofmann) (1495-1543) born in Franconia. Hoffmann was a lay preacher of the reformed religious movement, and later Anabaptist leader. He was probably the first printer in the city of Kiel, and published many influential tracts to promulgate his Zwinglian views of the Eucharist. His apocalyptic stance led him to prophesy that Christ would return in the year of 1533 in Strasbourg.

Dustin Hoffmann (b.1937) American actor of stage and screen was born in Los Angeles of a Jewish background. He made a string of classic movies The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Straw Dogs, Papillon? He is the holder of two Academy Awards (Kramer v. Kramer and Rain Man), five Golden Globes, four BAFTAs.
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