The ‘Linsenbardt’ Name

The surname Linsenbardt evolved in America from the German family name Linsenbarth. This name is in German pronounced the same as Linsenbardt is pronounced in English. The name Linsenbarth when literally translated means lentil-beard. According to Hans Linsenbarth of West Germany it originated in Thüringen, a kingdom in central germany, around 1250. In this region lentils (in German called Lensen) are grown and the early Linsenbarths, who were farmers, undoubtably grew them. Lentils are leguminous plants which produce small flat edible seeds similar to peas, beans, and soybeans. Perhaps early members of the family were sloppy eaters and had droppings of lentil soup in their beards.

There were according to Hans Linsenbarth at one time many people living in Thüringen with the name Linsenbarth. At this time, 1989, there are only two families living in Thüringen, a Dr. Georg Linsenbarth living in Eisenach, and Hermann and Analiese Linsenbarth living in a small village called Harras. There are however a considerable number of Linsenbarths scattered throughout the rest of Germany and even in Poland.

When the Eva Catharina Linsenbardt family came to America there family name was in all likihood also spelled Linsenbarth. It appears that way in some marriage records and land transactions from early time. However it also appears with other spellings i.e. Linsenbard, Linsenbart, etc. The variation in spellings is probably due to the lower levels of literacy during that time and also due to Englishization of the name. It appears that the early Linsenbardts usually went by the spelling Linsenbard since it appears on numerous gravestones and the descendants of Edmund Henry Linsenbard in California still use this spelling.

When the Linsenbarths arrived in America they pronounced the name the German way with a “T” sound on the end so that it sounded the same as we now pronounce Linsenbardt in English. This German “th” spelling and pronunciation also occur in the German names Theroff, and Raithel which are also in the Lohman/Jefferson City area. In the first two of these names the “th” is pronounced “T” by those of German background. People unfamiliar with the German pronunciation pronounce them with a “th” sound as in the word “the” or “breathe”. The name Veith should also probably be pronouned this way with a “T” sound but most commonly is not.

Because of the English pronunciation of “th” caused mispronunciation of their last name early members of the Linsenbardt/d family probably started spelling their name Linsenbard since the “d” is pronounced as a “T” in German when it appears at the end of a word, and it also has a similar T-like sound in English.

The Linsenbard spelling was used by the Linsenbardt/d’s in America until sometime in the late 1800’s. All Linsenbardts shown on the 1880 Cole County census still showed the name spelled Linsenbard. Sometime after 1880, the spelling was changed to Linsenbardt. The story about how this came about is that a pastor at the church, St. Paul’s, told the family that it would be better, or more correct, to spell the name with a “dt” on the end instead of “d”. Thus the name would be similar to Gemeinhardt, and Linhardt. During this time pastor was the most learned and respected person in the community and so the family went along with the pastor’s advice. I have heard the the pastor was Rev. George Fikenscher and it is very likely that it was him because he was pastor at St. Paul’s from 1875 until 1904. The Linsenbard’s in the Lohman area changed the spelling of the name but those who now live in California, the descendents of Edmund, did not. Apparently, the decision to change the spelling of the name was made after Edmund moved to California. It is believed that Edmund sold his store in Stringtown in 1888 so he probably moved to California and the name was probably changed after 1888.

2 Replies to “The ‘Linsenbardt’ Name”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *