Surname Saturday: EICHINGER

Surname Saturday

Surname – EICHINGER

Meaning/Origin – The Eichingre surname is not specifically listed in the Dictionary of German Names, Second Edition by Hans Bahlow, which is the reference book I usually use for my German surnames. However, other surnames with the prefix “Eich” (such as Eicher, Eichler, Eichner, Eichmann) all come from the German word eiche, which means “oak” and indicate a dwelling place under the oaks.

Countries of Origin – The surname Eichinger is German. According to the World Names Profiler, the countries with the highest frequency per million residents are Austria with 314 individuals per million, Germany with 61, and Hungary with 17.  The next highest countries (and their respective frequency per million) are Luxembourg (8.5) and Switzerland (6.3).

Spelling Variations – Variations include AICHINGER, which was the earlier/older spelling of the name in my own family.

Surname Maps – The following maps illustrate the frequency of the EICHINGER surname in Austria and Germany. Not surprisingly, the areas in Germany with the higher concentration is exactly where my family was located.

Distribution of the EICHINGER surname in Austria.

SOURCE: Surname Distribution Maps of Austria, http://namenskarten.lima-city.at/en/ accessed August 16, 2017.

Distribution of the EICHINGER surname in Germany

SOURCE: Surname Mapping database, http://www.verwandt.de/karten/absolut/eichinger.html, accessed August 16, 2017.

Famous Individuals with the Surname – Bernd Eichinger (1949-2011) was a German film producer. He was executive director of Constantin Film, one of the most successful German film companies. His best known American films were The Neverending Story, The Name of the Rose, and Fantastic Four. Nina Eichinger (born 1981, Munich) is Bernd Eichinger’s daughter and an actress in Germany. Martin Eichinger (born 1949) is an American sculptor. Under the alternate (and older) spelling of the name, Gregor Aichinger (c. 1565 – 21 January 1628) was a German composer and organist to the Fugger family of Augsburg in 1584.

My Family – My EICHINGINGER family comes from Bavaria. First from Oberbayern, or Upper Bavaria, but prior to that from the area just to the northwest, Niederbayern, or Lower Bavaria. It is interesting that in the earliest instances of the name in my family, they lived in the “Wald” region of Lower Bavaria, which is called Bayerischer Wald or the Bavarian Forest. That fact makes me wonder if the family’s name did indeed derive from the fact that they lived near the oaks!

My earliest ancestor with this name is Michael Aichinger who is named in the marriage record of his son, Egidi Aichinger, which took place in 1640 in Kirchberg im Wald. Each successive generation lived in a different town in that region including Grünbach and Hintberg. In the late 1700s/early 1800s – just when the spelling of the surname changed in records to EICHINGER, my line moved to Upper Bavaria in the area around Dachau including the towns of Oberweilbach, Deggendorf, Asbach, and Prittlbach.

My line of descent is as follows: Michael Aichinger > Egidi Aichinger > Andreas Aichinger (c. 1641-1711) > Johann Aichinger (1688-1749) > Josef Aichinger (c.1720-1789) > Josef Eichinger (1754-1817) > Georg Eichinger (1793-1855) > Ursula Eichinger Dallmayr (1820-?) > Ursula Dallmayr Bergmeister Götz (1846-1911) > Josef Bergmeister (1873-1927) > Margaret Bergmeister Pointkouski (1913-1998) > my father > me.

My Research Challenges – My challenge in researching this name was that I mis-translated the maiden name of my ancestor Ursula Dallmayr in her marriage record. For years I searched for the Eulinger family from Aichach instead of the Eichinger family from Asbach. It is so much easier to research using the correct name and location!

This post is #13 of an ongoing series about my family’s surnames. To see all posts in the series, click here.

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