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Have You Ever Wondered About Your Surname?

Have you ever wondered about the STEIERT surname? What it meant, where it came from?

Were you aware of other Steierts who were not immediate family or cousins, at least as far as you knew? Did you wonder if you were related? Where did they come from? Was your surname very common where you lived, or was it very rare like it was where I grew up?

Did your grandfather have an uncle, a brother or a cousin that emigrated? Where did they go? Did your family remain in contact with them, or did your family tell stories about the ancestor who emigrated to America (or elsewhere) and was never heard from again? Did any of them come back for a visit? Did any of them stay? Do you still have contact with overseas relatives?

If you have wondered about any of these questions, then welcome to the STEIERT Surname Research Project. Finding answers to these and many other questions is a major goal of this project. We are just starting and would like to encourage and invite you to come along with us. For more information on the fascinating story of the STEIERT surname and the STEIERT Surname Research Project, read on . . .

Surname - Origin and Meaning

The origin and meaning of the STEIERT surname is not known with 100% certainty. There are questions that prevent arriving at a conclusion at this time. The meaning of the surname is one of the main questions this project hope to answer. Some preliminary findings to this and other questions about the STEIERT surname are presented in this and the following sections of this website.

According to at least one source (Ref 1), STEIERT means "from Steiermark". My sister also told an anecdote of an encounter she had with an elderly lady in Huntsville, Alabama that seems to support this. When the lady met my sister she said "Oh, your name means "from Steiermark". After this surprise, my sister found out that she was a post World War II refugee from Germany and spoke German. Steiermark is both a historical region and a modern state in what is now southeast Austria.

The earliest occurrence of the STEIERT surname that I have found so far is from around the year 1608 and is reported by Ekkehard Liehl in a two volume work (Ref 2)on the history of the Hinterzarten farms and their owners "Geschichte Der Hinterzartener Hofgüter". Liehl based these books on extensive research in the local, regional and state archives for records pertinent to Hinterzarten, which is located in the high Black Forest in what is now the district of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald. Most of the data in these volumes is from the land and church records for the village.

In the years and centuries before 1600, Hinterzarten and much of the region surrounding it was under the feudal sway of nobles and lord's that had historical connections with the Steiermark region of Austria. It is plausible that settlers from the Steiermark were recruited to clear forests and populate their lands. Or perhaps to replace population that had been lost to wars and plagues. Both of which were a frequent occurrences in this time period. Idle land did not produce wealth for the lord.

In an appendix list of "Hofbesitzer" (initially feudal tenants with right of inheritance, later (~1806) true owners as we would understand it today) compiled by Liehl, the STEIERT surname appears some 58 times in the records which span land records dating from 1446 down to 2000 when the volumes were published. These lists only count "heads of households" and do not enumerate the greater number of STEIERTs that are found in the Hinterzarten church records for the same period.

The uncertainty about the meaning STEIERT is caused by the significant number of STEIERTs who are listed as the sons (sometimes daughters) and or grandsons of men whose names are recorded as Steinhardt (or Steinhart) in the early records. There are 50 Steinhard(t)s listed in the early days of the same records. With one or two exceptions, they all occur before 1644. Steigert is another form that appears some six times between 1640 and 1707. It appears to be a transition form. After that, STEIERT is used universally.

At this time the mechanism or cause for this seeming name change between generations is not apparent. This researcher is not sufficiently familiar with the history or the etymology and phonology of the German language to understand whether the shift from Steinhardt to Steigert to STEIERT is a phonetic/grammatical shift in spelling and that these names are really one and the same, or whether there is some other mechanism at work. If in fact they are the same name, then one of the goals of the project is to determine if there is genetic linkage to the Steiermark region of Austria that would support the "literal" meaning of STEIERT.

Variants of the Name

Modern Forms

The known forms of the STEIERT surname that were phonetically and grammatically interchangeable before the 1901 spelling reforms include:


For modern Germans, whose ancestors remained in Germany, their surname became STEIERT regardless of what form it was before 1901. For the descendents of those Germans who emigrated, most if not all of them have kept the form that their ancestor emigrated with. The one exception, STIERT may be a true name change that occurred soon after entry into the United States to align the German pronunciation of STEIERT with an anglicized spelling of the name.

Other phonetically equivalent variants of the surname exist, but based on current research there is no genealogical relationship between the families of any of the known STEIERT variants to the families bearing these equivalent forms. If any of these latter names can be linked genealogically to one of these modern variants, they will be incorporated in the list.

Archaic Forms

As discussed in the Origin and Meaning section, there are additional names that may be archaic forms of the STEIERT surname. They are:


A key goal of this project is to resolve this uncertainty whether these are just archaic forms of the STEIERT surname or are different names that were changed. The approach is to use both traditional genealogy and DNA genealogy to illuminate and ultimately provide answers to these questions whatever the reason.

Geographical Distribution

STEIERT Distribution in Germany

Until just prior to World War II, almost all STEIERTs in Germany could be found in Baden-Württemberg, especially in the southwestern districts. The increased dispersion throughout Germany since then is likely the result of the increased population mobility that has occurred in Germany in the latter half of the 20th Century The plots below show the relative and absolute distributions of a projected population of 1,296 STEIERTs in Germany. The state of Baden-Württemberg accounts for nearly 81% of that total. Bavaria is next with only 8.4%. Six states have no STEIERTs and the remaining eight states account for an only another 10.7% between them.

Within Baden-Württemberg, the district of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald and the free city of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, which it surrounds, alone account for 46% of the national total. The neighboring districts also have a high incidence of STEIERTs. They are Emmendingen, Schwarzwald-Baar, Waldshut, Lörrach and the two French départements of the Haut-Rhin and the Bas-Rhin. (No statistics are provided for the latter two but other sources indicate there is a STEIERT presense also).

The website, GeoGen provides surname distribution maps for Germany. The first map shows the relative distribution of the number of STEIERTs in each district per million people. The second map shows the absolute distribution of the number of STEIERTs in each district. Both maps are computed based on the number of telephone listings for STEIERT in each district. The population projection is computed by factoring the number of listings in proportion to the number of total telephone listings divided by the total population.

Maps and data derived from the GeoGen Website by Christoph Stoepel: German Surname Distribution Map Website

German Surname Distribution - Relative German Surname Distribution - Absolute
relative distribution of the lastname Steiert (a total of 488 entries in 2002) created by Geogen 3.0
legend: less than 10 occurrence per million, up to 135 occ./mil., up to 270 occ./mil., up to 405 occ./mil., up to 540 occ./mil., more than 540 occ./mil.

STEIERT Distribution Worldwide

Worldwide, STEIERTS can be found in a total of 15 countries including Germany. About half (49.6%) live in Germany. Slightly over one fourth (27.5%) live in the United States. They are followed by those who live in Peru (7.0%), Canada (4.9%), England (4.1%) and Switzerland (3.6%). The remaining 3+% of the STEIERTs make their homes in France, Australia, Russia, Italy, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Belgium and India.

With the exception of the STEIERT presense shown for the countries of South Korea, United Arab Emirates and India, it is believed that the STEIERT presense in each of the other countries dates to at least the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries if not earlier. The presence of STEIERTs in South Korea, UAE and India is also believed to be a late twentieth century occurance resulting from the increased mobility of people and globalization of the world economies since World War II.

The Worldwide Steiert Surname Distribution map shows the countries identified above. The intensity of the color is proportional to the number of STEIERTs resident in each country.

Data derived from website: Worldwide Steiert Surname Distribution

STEIERTS Are Very Unique

The bearers of the STEIERT surname variants are very unique. According to 2014 data from the genealogy website (Worldwide Steiert Surname Distribution), the total number of STEIERTs (total of all variants) living in the world today is estimated to be approximately 2,240 individuals. That is less than 0.00003% of the total population of the over 7.2 billion people living in the world today.


STEIERTs over centuries have almost all been farmers and without any celebrities in the modern sense. However; STEIERTS have been a part of the Black Forest cottage industries of Urhenmackerei, Schildmalerei and Hinterglasmalerei which went hand in hand with farming and other village occupations. The winters were long and cold and these crafts provided much needed income. Some of their works are housed in several museums and private collections in Germany as well as being recorded in art and clock making history books. See References 3 & 4.

  • Staiert, Jacob, 1781-1825, Schild-, Kunst- und Hinterglasmaler in Glasträgerhof, St. Märgen-Zwerisberg and later in Neukirch-Leiterloch. Gütleinbesitzer from 1815
  • Steiert, Rudolph, 1816-1897, Sohn of Jacob Staiert, Schild- und Hinterglasmaler in Neukirk, lieferte 1841 Lackschilder nach England
  • Staiert, Johann Baptist, 1791-1873, Uhrenschildmaler at Glasträgerhof, Sankt Märgen-Zwerisberg, later Urach, then since 1831 Schneehofbauer in Waldau
  • Staiert, Zäzillia, †1830, Uhrenschildmalerin at Glasträgerhof, Sankt Märgen-Zwerisberg
  • Steiert, Augustin, Hinterzarten, erw. 1810 Uhrenhändler in Flandern
  • Steiert, Johann, Waldau, 1933-1915, Schildermaler und Kunstmaler, 1862 Preisdiplom in Furntwangen.
  • Steiert, Johann Georg, Schollach, 1749-1778 Uhrenhandler in England
  • Steiert, Joseph, Neukirch, erw. 1847, Schildermaler
  • Steiert, Philipp, Reichenbach bei Neustadt, erw. 1812, Uhrmacher
  • Steiert, Pius, Waldau 1836-1896, Schildermaler und Mesner

Geographical Designations

The following geographical locations include the STEIERT surname as part of their place name.

  • Steiertenhof: Steiertenhof is the name of a former farm in the community of Hinterzarten, Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald. Geo-coordinates. Latitude 47°52'39.59"N and Longitude 8° 4' 38.84"E The farm was first mentioned in the records in 1446 as "Urhöfen". The 72.43 ha comprising it was in the STEIERT Family from 1628 to the early 19th Century at which time it was passed on to Schelb and Steurenthaler Families. It was acquired by the community of Hinterzarten in 1957. They sold it in 1984 and in 1985, the Hof building burned down. Various plans were proposed and in 2004, approval was given to faithfully rebuild the Hof barn. The construction permit was issued in 2007 and extended 3 more years in 2010. (Source:
  • Steiertenkopf: : Geo-coordinates. Latitude 47° 52' 40" N and Longitude 8° 4' 39" E. Steiertenkipf is a mountain in the Black Forest of Germany, located between the streams of Rotwasser and Eckle on Steiertenhof land. The Vorderbarental and Feldberg are also nearby. Steiertenkofp is 1,073.3 Meters in elevation.
  • Steiertenschlag: Geo-coordinates. Latitude 47°52′27.1″N and Longitude 8°2′39.77″E. Steiertenschlag is a rocky, mostly forest covered ridge extending to the east from the Feldberg. The Feldsee lies between it and the main eastern ridge of the Feldberg to the south.
  • Steiertenhäusle: Geo-Coordinates. Latitude 47°55′29.25″N and Longitude 8°6′23.91″E. No further information is known about this place.

Source Literature

  • Ref 1: Jones, George F. “German American Names” 2nd Edition, 1995, Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., Baltimore, Maryland 21202. Page 279, ISBN 0-8063-1481-8
  • Ref 2 Vol I: Liehl, Ekkehard, "Geschichte Der Hinterzartener Hofgüter", Band 1, 1997, Stadler Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 78467 Konstanz, Max Stromeyer Strasse 172, ISBN 3-7977-0395-5
  • Ref 2 Vol II: Liehl, Ekkehard, "Geschichte Der Hinterzartener Hofgüter", Band 2, 2000, Stadler Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 78467 Konstanz, Max Stromeyer Strasse 172, ISBN 3-7977-0395-3
  • Ref 3 Hahner, Gudrun und Jesserer, Hans, "Hinterglasbilder aus dem Schwarzwald" 1994, Verlag Gudrun Hahner Blaubeuren, ISBN 3-9803907-0-5
  • Ref 4 Schaaf, Berthold, "Schwarzwalduhren: Geschicte un Technik", 1995, G.Braun Buchverlag GmbH, Karlsruhe, ISBN 3-7650-8153-1

Genealogical Researchers

  • Dick Staiert ( STEIERT Surname Research Project Administrator


STEIERT Surname Research Project Websites

FTDNA Website: STEIERT Surname Research Project DNA Component Website

WFN Website: STEIERT Surname Research Project Tradition Genealogy Component Website

Reference Websites

Forebears Website: STEIERT Surname - Worldwide Distribution

GeoGen Website: STEIERT Surname - German Distribution

MooseRoots Website: STEIERT Surname - United States Distribution

RootsWeb Website: STEIERT Surname Research Project - RootsWeb Information and Redirection Website

GenWiki Website: STEIERT Surname Research Project - GenWiki German Language Information and Redirection Website

GenWiki Website: STEIERT Surname Research Project - GenWiki English Language Information and Redirection Website

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