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Surname Schenflein - Meaning and Origin

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Schenflein: What does the surname Schenflein mean?

The last name Schenflein is a German surname, tracing back to its medieval roots. It is believed to have originated from the Middle High German words "schenf," meaning "specific" or "special," and "lein," meaning "small" or "weak." The literal translation of the name is then something akin to "special small one."

The first use of this surname appears in a royal decree issued in 1262 A.D. in Tauschburg, Bavaria, to one "Petrus Schenflein." This man was a merchant who was granted permission to operate his business in this region. This implies that the family already had a strong presence in this area, hinting that they may have been there for some time previous.

As a family name, Schenflein is fairly rare and has maintained its presence in places of origin. The name has been found in various records of Germany, including in regions of Thuringia, Franconia, Wurttemberg, and Bavaria. It is also possible that some bearers of this name may have come to the United States with other settlers, though this is far less certain.

The name Schenflein also continues to resonate with many of its original meanings. The "special small one" title could be interpreted as a sign of respect or admiration for someone who was unique in some way. It may also be that the family has passed down a tradition of respecting and honoring those members of the family who did special things, regardless of their stature in life.

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Schenflein: Where does the name Schenflein come from?

The last name Schenflein is quite common in parts of Germany today. According to the US Census of 2000, the majority of people bearing this last name (approx 60%) are living in Germany - mainly Bavaria, the Rhineland Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg.

Other countries with Schenflein populations include Austria, Switzerland, France and Belgium. In the United States, Schenflein is categorized as a rare surname, with around 158 bearers whose origins can be traced to Europeans who settled in the US during the middle of the 19th century.

The origins of the name likely lie in the Middle Ages. The name Schenflein itself likely derives from the old German “schenfeld,” which evolved out of the word “schaft” – and was used to indicate a plot of land owned by a family.

In terms of written records, the first known occurrences of the name were recorded in 1533 in records from Olsztyn, Poland. By around the 17th century, the names Schenflein, Scheinfeld, and Scheinfelder were fairly common German names – the Scheinfeld variant being the most popular at the time.

Overall, the last name Schenflein is most common in parts of Germany today, with smaller populations in other parts of Europe and the United States. Its origins trace back to the Middle Ages, and it is most likely derived from the old German word “schenfeld,” indicating a family-owned plot of land.

Variations of the surname Schenflein

The surname Schenflein is an uncommon German surname derived from the name Schiefe, which means "crooked or bent". Variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin include Schenfel, Schenfleisch, Schenfeld, Scheinfeld, Scheinfel, Scheinfeller, Scheinfeldoe, Scheinfeldt, Scheinflen, Sheinfel, Sheinfeld, Sheinfeldo, Sheinfled, Shenflein, Shiefel, Shiefele, Shiefely, Shiefen and Shiefling.

Schenflein usually originates from an area in central Germany where surnames that began with Sch or Schein appended with fein - meaning "small" or "delicate" - were common. This gave rise to many derivatives of the name, creating quite a few variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin.

For instance, Schiefel, stands for "small and crooked" while Schiefele is a combination of the words "small" and "flat". Scheinfeld, Scheinfeldoe and Scheinfeller mean "small stream", "small field and stream", and "small guardian of a field" respectively. Sheinfeld and Sheinfeldo refer to "small field of protection" and "small shepherd's field". Shiefen and Shiefling are derived from the words "small and fierce" and "small snake" respectively.

Though many variations of the surname Schenflein exist, they all convey the same basic meaning of "small and crooked".

Famous people with the name Schenflein

  • Max Schenflein: German-born American Jewish author, public speaker, activist, and professor (1937–2004).
  • Joanne Rose Schenflein: US Air Force Captain and the first female lateral entrant to the United States Air Force Academy (1923–2015).
  • Stephen Schenflein: musician, singer, and songwriter (1964-).
  • Katherine Schenflein: American-born playwright and author (1924–2017).
  • Ernie Schenflein: American football player (1920–1984).
  • Marc Schenflein: American baseball player (1970–).
  • June Schenflein: Canadian artist (1932–2016).
  • Robert Schenflein: American surgeon (1901–2001).
  • Jerry Schenflein: American political advisor and lawyer (1919–1994).
  • Dellis Schenflein: Austro-Hungarian composer (1898–1975).

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