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Surname Wald - Meaning and Origin

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DNA Voyage with iGENEA: An Intimate Dance with my Ancestry

A transformative journey with iGENEA expanded my understanding of my lineage, grounding my ancestry to central and Eastern European roots. The experience amplified the significance of my surname 'Wald,' adding untold layers to my identity narrative. This glimpse into my genetic heritage was a potent blend of emotions, a journey beyond space and time that deepened my perception of "family," broadening it beyond immediate relations.

H. Wald

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Wald: What does the surname Wald mean?

The last name Wald is of German origin and means "forest/woods". It primarily referred to someone from a place called Wald, which is derived from the Middle High German word "wald" meaning woods or forest. It is likely that people bearing the surname Wald originally lived near a forest or in an area with lots of trees.

Wald may have also likely referred to people from an area where wild boar hunting took place, as the word "wald" also denotes that activity. Other variations of this name include Wold, Walde, Wolff, and Wälder, all of which share the same meaning.

Historically, during the Middle Ages, the Wald surname could have been adopted by people living in the forests of northern Germany, Lithuania, or elsewhere in Europe. Because of this, Wald is commonly associated with German culture and is a popular surname among Germans, especially those living in Bavaria and Austria.

Wald is also a primary name in other parts of Europe, such as the Netherlands. In Dutch, the word "Wald" is spelled "Wouw" and is used as a given name and surname to denote "a man from the woods".

Overall, the last name Wald reflects an ancestry connected to forests and woodlands. Today, it is a common last name found in many European countries, representing a diverse and historically rich legacy.

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Wald: Where does the name Wald come from?

The last name Wald is most commonly found in Germany, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. It’s also fairly common in the United States, especially in Pennsylvania and New York.

According to the US census, the name Wald is among the 1,000 most common names in the US. It ranks 845th on that list. The US population with the last name Wald in 2020 is an estimated 55,772. It is also the 18,976th most common surname overall in the world.

In Germany, the name Wald is one of the fifty most common surnames. In Austria, it is estimated to be the 77th most popular last name. In Denmark and the Netherlands, the name Wald is cited as being among the 100 most common surnames. In Switzerland, the name is among the fifty most common, and is particularly common in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino and the Grisons.

In Pennsylvania and New York, the name is very common. York County, Pennsylvania, and Westchester County, New York, have some of the highest concentrations of Walds. It is sometimes anglicized to Waldo or Walder, and can also be found in the forms Walz or Walcz. Some of those with the name Wald are descended from the house of Wald, a prominent family in the Middle Ages that has been extensively documented in familial records.

Variations of the surname Wald

The surname Wald has several variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin. Wald is the German word for "forest" and it’s an occupational surname for someone who dwelled or worked in a forest. The spelling Wald is still most commonly used in modern times, but there are several other spellings and forms used in other languages. These include Valle, Vallee, Wall, Wolfe, Woll, Voll, Volle, Waller, Wölle, Wöller, Wäller, Wälle, Wahl, and Wahlmann.

Wald is an Alsace-German-Austrian surname, and is also common in North America because of German immigration. In German, it is also found written as "Waaß," often with the ß replaced by two s's.

In other parts of Europe, the surname may be spelled as Val, Valle, Vallèe or de Val in French, and Vall, Valle, or de Val in Spanish. In Dutch, it is usually written as Walth or Wout. In East European countries such as Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, this surname is often spelled as Vold, Vod, Voit or Vol.

In Jewish culture, Wald may be a translation of the Jewish surname Waldman. And in England, Wald may be a translation of the Anglo-Saxon name Waltheow, or may also be a variation of the Anglo-Saxon surname Well.

In conclusion, the surname Wald has many different variants, spellings, and surnames that share the same origin. By understanding these different forms, one can better trace a family history and their names throughout history.

Famous people with the name Wald

  • Emma Wald: journalist and TV presenter from Germany
  • Evan Wald: singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist
  • Harvey Wald: former American Major League baseball player
  • Jean Wald: French actress
  • Julius Wald: Israeli actor, director and screenwriter
  • Margaret Wald: Dutch theatrical actress
  • Peter Wald: German poet and writer
  • Ramo Wald: Israeli opera singer
  • Rinaldo Wald: American composer
  • Simon Wald: Swiss tenor, actor and model
  • Tova Wald: Israeli actress
  • Yuri Wald: Russian composer, professor and author

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