Genealogical Magazine with Database

D. Martin Luther

Truckenbrodt, Druckenbrod, Trockenbrot

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What means the surname Luther/Luder? Wherethe name luther does come from?

With the answers of Günter Luther I don't agree exceptionally.

The ancestors of Martin Luther beared the surname “Luder” partly still to his time and in the following generations.

Only with beginning of the High German language this changed to Luther/Lutter.

Günter Luther stated the old name Luder is obviously taken from the Old High German language:

ludere, ludern = alder

If you consider, that the custom of family names was born in the town civilization of Upper Italy in the 8th/9th century, came across the Romanic Switzerland in the 10th/11th century, to Upper Germany 12th century, and then it moved northwards, you can't understand why Günter Luther uses a language, that isn't spoken since centuries, to explain the name. Unfortunately here too he doesn't note a source, where his opinion is coming from.

Well, in the web there are enough online-vocabularies for Old High German - New High German. But in no one I could find the translation of Günter Luther:

ludere, ludern = alder

Instead I have found:

erlen: erlin [engl. alder]
erlen erilin
Erlen...: erlin
Erlenbaum: erilunboum
alar, ahd., nhd. Erle, Holunder

No vocabulary translates 'alder' with 'ludere, ludern'.

What was spoken in the 12./13. century? Middle High German! There I have asked these vocabularies too. What I have found?

Luoder = 1. Lockspeise, engl. lure, franz. leurre , whereat 'lure' is concerned to the falconry

= 2. gormandizing, loose life

luoderie = gormandizing, loose life

luoder-kneht = a menial, that lives loose

luodern md. ludern= train withe a lure

lüederlich = charming, womanly, but also loose

luodere = 1. to appeal
= 2.to gormandize, to live loose
= 3. to monkey about

Let us forget it! Everyone recognizes that our current German words 'Luder, Lude' and 'liederlich' here have its root. But was the Middle High German word 'luoder' the origin of the name Luther?

To answer this question we have to make us aware, how at all surnames developed and why they developed.

The supply of first names was limited, to differentiate the persons, you needed name affixes.

For this origin, occupation, physical characteristics was used, in addition, traits, simply everything which seemed helpful. In later centuries the process was similar. In many places there were humans with same first name and surname at the same time.

For distinction the affix was selected again , e.g. “the older one, the thickness” etc.

One could believe naturally in the fact that the first bearer of the name was a man with a very loose life. However to give to such a man such a surname, he must already have a special social position. Until to the 15th century the lower classes have not had a surname or used it.

Thus I do not believe in this root. I have a much better name interpretation: The point of origin.

continuation page 5

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The Family Life of the Luther Family Part 1
Continuation of page 1

D. Martin Luther, copy of a painting of Lukas Cranach
Katharina von Bora

Copyright 2007  Wolfgang Appell