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Surname Wilentz - Meaning and Origin

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Wilentz: What does the surname Wilentz mean?

The last name Wilentz is a Germanic surname originating from the Middle Ages. It is believed to be derived from the word "wilenze," meaning "willow" or "stream". This could be a reference to someone who lived near a willow tree or a stream.

Over time, the spelling of this name has evolved, with variations including Wylence, Wylens, Wilhelm, and Wilzig.

The Wilentz name is most likely associated with professional or occupational names, suggesting that it was used to denote a particular occupation or profession. This could refer to either a willow collector or someone who lived near a stream, such as a farmer or fisher.

The earliest records of the Wilentz name date back to the 14th century, with references in German records, specifically in the Lower Rhine region.

Today, the Wilentz name is most popular in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States, with the majority of those bearing the name living in North America.

The Wilentz name carries a certain prestige, having been passed down through generations for centuries. Those with the surname Wilentz can be proud to bear a name with such a long and fascinating history.

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Wilentz: Where does the name Wilentz come from?

The last name Wilentz is most commonly found today in the United States. Records show that in the year 2019, the population with this surname was around 2,330 people, making it one of the top 12,000 most common surnames in the US.

Most of the Wilentz family originate from Germany, with many variants of the name—Wolensch, Willins, Wilinski, and Wilensky, to name a few. Some Jewish versions can be found in Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.

The Wilentz family began to arrive in the United States in the mid-1700s, coming first to Pennsylvania and New York. Later, the family migrated throughout the Midwest and to the West Coast. Most of the Wilentzes in the U.S. today reside in New Jersey, California, and Florida.

The Wilentz name often appears in American histories and biographies, from abolitionist Joel Wilentz to New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Stewart G. Wilentz. The family’s larger presence is felt in the domains of academia and culture, with Wilentzes contributing to teaching, medicine, law, literature, theater, and architecture, among other disciplines.

So, if you're looking for a family with a centuries-long history in America, the Wilentzes are a promising choice.

Variations of the surname Wilentz

The surname Wilentz is derived from the German given name Wilhelm, its English equivalent William, and the Slavic given name Vilim or Vilhelm, meaning "Protection, Desire of Helmet". It can be spelled in a variety of ways - Wilant, Wilantz, Willantz, Wilenz, Wilintz, Willintz, Wilyantz, Wylantz and Wylenzes. It can also take multiple surname iterations such as Wilemz, Wilenze, Wiliantze, Wilantzes, Wilants, Wilents, Wilenzs, Willants, Willemnz, and Willemse.

Wilentz is particularly common among Jews, and in Yiddish, the surname is usually found spelled Villenetz. Among Ashkenazi Jews, the surname is also seen as Vilen, Vilensky, Villenetz and Villenyetz.

In addition, the German and Bohemian spelling of the surname is usually Willentz, while many Polish people spell it Wilenski—and Russian speakers phonetically spell it Vilyenets. In Latin American countries such as Colombia, Bolivia and Chile, the surname Wilentz is often seen written as Vilens. In some Semitic- speaking countries, such as Lebanon and Israel, the surname Wilentz is spelled Vilenski.

In the United States and Canada, people with the surname Wilentz are of German or Eastern European ancestry, and the surname is currently ranked 7,948 in popularity for American surnames. It is believed to have arrived in the States around the 1850s with those immigrants who arrived from Germany, Russia, Czechoslovakia and Austria.

Famous people with the name Wilentz

  • Sean Wilentz: Sean Wilentz is an American historian and professor specializing in 19th-century U.S. history. He has written numerous books on the subject and served as a political advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016.
  • Robert Wilentz: Robert Wilentz served as Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1979 to 1996 and as a delegate to the 1974 New Jersey Constitutional Convention.
  • Jay Wilentz: Jay Wilentz is a former New Jersey state senator for nearly four decades who was part of a powerful political family in New Jersey politics.
  • Mike Wilentz: Mike Wilentz is an American lawyer and writer from New Orleans. He is the author of the book The Last Boat Out of New Orleans: Refugees of the Trump Era.
  • Ellen Wilentz: Ellen Wilentz is an American songwriter and the record producer for the band R.E.M.
  • Ralph Wilentz: Ralph Wilentz was a prominent New Jersey entrepreneur who was the founder of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, one of the largest law firms in the state.
  • Paul Wilentz: Paul Wilentz is an American lawyer and the founder and chair of the Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer law firm.
  • Jill Wilentz: Jill Wilentz is an American film editor who is known for her work on movies such as The Big Sick and Bad Teacher.
  • Alan Wilentz: Alan Wilentz was a prominent fashion designer in the US known for his couture designs and for designing the costume of Princess Diana for the 1987 ball in honor of the Sultan of Brunei.
  • David Wilentz: David Wilentz was the New Jersey Attorney General from 1934 to 1944 and led the prosecution in the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann in 1935 for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s baby.

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