HEGEL Surname Etymology

Much of the below stems from the Dictionary of German Names by Hans Bahlow, 1999.

According to Bahlow, the surname originated in Upper (i.e. southern) Germany, specifically in Württemberg and Baden. In Middle High German texts, the word hagen meant "breeding bull" as well as "briar, hedge or grove". The former would seem to be an occupation name, the man who owns and rented out bulls for breeding. The latter seems to be a place name, the man who lives by the grove or hedge or possibly the man who owns a field which is fenced off by a hedge.

The lengthening of the initial vowel from "a" [ah] to "ae", "ä" or "e" and the addition of the suffix -li, -lin or -le indicates the diminutive. It may be supposed that the original owner of the name was himself small, but it seems more likely that his field was probably small.

Another possibility, specifically indicated for the variant Hagel, is a derivation from Hagelstein, which means hail, icy rain or hailstones.

A third possibility for the Hagel variant is from Grünhagel, which is a name derived from the name of a field. This also comes from Hag or Hagen which refer to a hedge. This can lead to a number of different names with Hagel as the root, for example, Hagelsiepen, Hagensick, Hagelberg and Hagelloch (akin to Hagenloch which means "hedge hole").

This name has had many spelling variants over the centuries -- here is a list of all I have found so far:

Example Holders from Historical Texts and Records:

Internet researchers interested in this surname, not necessarily all related, include:

(*) individual is definitely related to Richard Heli.
Bibliography consulted for surname and for Klingnau, Canton Aargau, Switzerland in general:
View surnames researched by Richard Heli
Last updated: Mon Nov 12 03:47:04 PST 2001
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