Gentner Genealogy Page

Gentner Genealogy Page



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Gentner Genealogy Page

I would like this page to be a resource for people who are interested in the Gentner families in America and Germany. Please contact me if you are doing research on any of the Gentner families and would like to be listed here. I'm still working on these pages, so comments and suggestions for improvement are very welcome.

The Gentner name

The origin of the name Gentner is uncertain. As far as I know, the name is first found in Germany. People with the name Gentner are recorded in Württemberg in the late 1300s. Several accounts say that the name Gentner is derived from the old German word Gantner, meaning auctioneer. If that is true, it would be a delightful irony, because around my home town of Springville, New York, the Gentner Livestock Auction is a colorful and widely known landmark. It was founded by Raymond Gentner (1905-1968) and is featured in a famous painting "Shoot the Moon" (shown at left) by Tom Irish, a well known local artist. Andreas Gentner of Geislingen, Germany writes that in an old bavarian dialect, Gantner meant a "debt collection agent", giving us another possible origin for the name.

If you would prefer a more exotic origin for the Gentner name, Max Gottschald, in his book on the origin of German names (Deutsche Namenkunde, Verlag Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1954), says that Gentner is related to the German word Gand, which derives from the old Norse words gandy (magician) and gandr (werewolf).

According to the U.S. Census Department, there is only one Gentner for every 100,000 people in the United States. The states with the highest concentrations of Gentner families seem to be Michigan and New York, both of which were settled by the Wiesental Gentners.

Gentner Immigrants to America

I'm trying to compile a comprehensive list of all Gentner immigrants to America, and eventually tie them to the Gentner families currently living here. Here is what I have so far.

The Gentner clan from Wiesental, Baden

This web site includes descriptions about 700 people with the surname Gentner. These people are all part of the branch that I am studying, the descendants of Johann Heinrich Gentner (1716-1764) of Wiesental, Baden, Germany. Eventually, I hope to include all Gentners in America whose ancestors came from Wiesental. I know of some Gentner families who come from other areas of Germany such as Württemberg, but I have not found a connection between them and the Gentner family in Wiesental.

Other Gentner families in Germany

In the 18th and 19th centuries there were a number of Gentner families living in various areas in the Grand Duchy of Baden and in the Kingdom of Württemberg. These areas are now combined in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In addition to my Gentner branch in Wiesental, sizable concentrations of Gentners could be found in the villages of Schirrhein (now in the Bas-Rhin region of France), Ihringen, Eimeldingen, and Wollbach in Baden. There may have been even more Gentners in the Kingdom of Württemberg, particularly in the Jagstkreis region. Württemberg villages with large Gentner populations included Ellenberg, Ebnat Neresheim, Gaildorf, Hemmingen, Hüttlingen, and Ohrnberg. All these villages are shown on a map of Germany.

There are also Gentners who came to America from Switzerland. One of our great challenges is to discover whether all these Gentner families in Baden, Württemberg, and Switzerland are related or not. Thoughts and evidence on this topic would be very welcome.

Gentner genealogists

If you would like to share information on the Gentner family history, contact one of the following people. [Note: if you are researching the Gentner family and would like to be added to this list, please send me a note. I’ll be happy to include you.]

There is Gentner genealogy mailing list at RootsWeb. If you are interested in the genealogy of the Gentner family, please subscribe to this mailing list and send you questions, comments, and research results to the list (You must be a subscriber to send messages to the list). You can subscribe to the list by sending an email to [email protected] that contains just the word


Gentner Trivia

For a fascinating look at Gentners in history and Gentner around the world, check out the Gentner Trivia Page.

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Prepared by Don Gentner - 15 Jul 2002