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Surname Schildwach - Meaning and Origin

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Schildwach: What does the surname Schildwach mean?

The last name Schildwach is a German surname commonly found in the region of Lower Bavaria, in the northern part of the country. It has been found in records dating back to the late 13th century.

The literal translation of the word 'Schildwach' is "shield watcher", suggesting that the original bearers of this surname may have once served as the protectors of towns or castles in medieval Europe.

Schildwach is also an occupational surname, derived from the German verb 'schilchen', which refers to the practice of gatekeeping, or the job of a watchman. Being a gatekeeper is not to be confused with a guard or sentry; rather, it generally means to be charged with the oversight of an entryway or threshold of a castle. It was a position of great importance and trust – the gatekeeper was responsible for identifying guests or visitors, as well as ensuring that any unwelcome persons or strange faces were turned away.

The spelling of 'Schildwach' has changed over time, existing in documents in the forms 'Schiltwach', 'Schilwach', and 'Schillwach', among others. Today the surname is still in use throughout Germany and other European countries.

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Schildwach: Where does the name Schildwach come from?

The last name Schildwach can be found today in parts of Germany, Poland, Austria and Switzerland.

In Germany, the Schildwach surname is most commonly associated with the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and Dresden. It is also found in the surrounding areas of these cities.

In Poland, the surname is common in the historic districts of Gdansk, Krakow and Torun. In Austria, Schildwach is associated with the provinces of Tyrol, Carinthia, Upper and Lower Austria, and Burgenland.

In Switzerland, the Schildwach surname is most closely associated with the German-speaking cantons, particularly Aargau, Basel, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Schaffhausen, Schwyz and Zürich.

Outside of Germany, Poland, Austria and Switzerland, the last name is less common, although it is still present in parts of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In the United States it is primarily concentrated in the Midwest region, especially Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Overall, those with the last name Schildwach can trace their origins back to a Germanic heritage.

Variations of the surname Schildwach

The Schildwach surname is of German origin and has several variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin.

Variants include Schildawch, Schildwath, Schildwaech, Schildwack, Sheildwach, Sheildwacht, Schildwacht, and Sheildwaecht.

Alternate spellings include Schildwacht, Schildwaecht, Sch .ildwach/cht, Sheildwacht/cht, and Schildwàch/cht.

Surnames of the same origin include Schildbach, Schildbern, Schildborne, Schilden, Schilder, Schilders, Schildhauar, Schildknecht, Schildkröt, Schildmann, Schildmeister, Schildmüller, Schildschmidt, Schildwÿck, and Schildwÿch.

The Schildwach surname is derived from Old High German elements which mean “shield” and “watch”. It was most likely used as an occupational name for someone who guarded a castle or town. This surname is common throughout Germany and can be found in records dating back to the 18th century.

Famous people with the name Schildwach

  • Werner Schildwach: German Olympic medallist and winner of the World Cup in alpine skiing.
  • Olaf Schildwach: German award-winning photographer and visual artist.
  • Bernhard Schildwach: German performer and singer.
  • Alfred Schildwach: Austrian actor and author.
  • Lenas Schildwach: German comedian and cabaret artist.
  • Wolf-Dieter Schildwach: Former general manager of the German Football Association.
  • Renate Schildwach: German professor and physician.
  • Christina Schildwach: Austrain author and filmmaker.
  • Franz-Josef Schildwach: German painter and graphic designer.
  • Christa Schildwach: German journalist and radio presenter.

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