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Whelchel Coat of Arms / Whelchel Family Crest

This German surname of WHELCHEL was originally derived from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements WALD (rule) and HERI (army). The name was introduced into England by the Normans during the Invasion of 1066 in the form WALTIER and WAUTIER. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. A notable member of the name was the American naval officer, John Esten Whelchel. He served in USS Rochester, Atlantic Convoy Duty, in World War I and as Chief of Staff to service squadrons, USS San Francisco, South Pacific, in World War II. He retired as Vice Admiral in August 1947, and found a new career in real estate and farming. Another member was the American banker, Clarence Antony Whelchel, (1899-1972). Between 1944 and 1972, he was the Director of the Nashville branch of Federal Reserve Bank, Atlanta. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity. Many immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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