The origin of the surnames Gueinzius and Weintz

Updated 01/02/2010

Onomastics (science of names) in the Gueinzius family

"Where does the surname Gueinzius comes from?" Since the name is so unusual, every bearer of this name is confronted often with this question.

As the first member of the family Gotthold Gueinzius - HH 21 - (1913 - 1986) has made an attempt onto this question in a basic approach.

On this page:

Origine of the surname Gueinzius

Latinization of the name

Not-Latinized form of the name

Origin of the surname Weintz


The interpretation in our family up to now led customary to "vintager" by the picture in our family crest. However Gotthold Gueinzius found out, that this assumption could not be hold from the point of the language and sound history: The only onomsatical derivation of "vintager" he has found was "Weinzierl". About the family crest

First Gotthold Gueinzius collected all versions of this "rare and strange" name as it was handed down in different documents over the centuries:

In addition to Gueinzius are to be found Gueintzius, Gweinzius, Gweintzius, Guinzius, Quinzius, Queinzius, Queintzius, Quentius. The not-Latinized form Gueintz and Queintz is very frequent.

Gueintz calls himself Master Christian Gueinzius (1592 - 1650) in his two writings which he wrote in German language.

About the family founder, Master Christian Gueintz
Gueintz or Queintz (Queinz) mostly called the descendants of his second son (1633 - 1688) up to Rosina Elisabeth, who put as a borne Queinzin a tombstone for her husband Georg Adam Neumeister in the Nikolai Church in Berlin-Spandau (1727).
In the not-Latinized form "Weintz", we find him in the Dreyhaupt family tree.

Pedigree in the Dreyhaupt Chronicle (JPEG graphics 293 KB)

Gotthold Gueinzius found in the name book of Foerstemann, who has done spadework after Jakob Grimm on this field, that the name might be to be derived of the Old High German "wini" = Middle High German "wine" (friend)

There he found the derivation row: "Wini" = "friend", Winitze, Winizo, Winezo, Winzo, Guinizo, Guinizzo, Winz, Wienz.

He concluded from it that the basic form of our name Quinz(ius), Queinz(ius), Weinz is to be inserted into the derivation row with great probability coming from wini = friend also.

The further research then led him to the sound shifts in which the Indo-European differentiated itself into the different Indo-European languages.

He concluded from this that the "Qu" and "Gu" might be older than "W". For him, Queinz and Gueinz must be older than Weintz. So he thought, Gueinzius was a derivation of Queintz with Indo-European origin. That's the reason why he called his family history "The Queintz".

Origin of the surname Gueinzius

Meanwhile more than 50 years passed by and new sources and findings resulted.

Important for the name interpretation is the different spelling side by side. This is to be explained also by the fact that registry offices are existing in Germany since 1875 [6] only which handle with family books and guaranteeing the standardization of names today. Beyond this the capability of reading and writing was not widespread in former times so that name bearers did not often know the spelling of their name. In case baptisms, weddings and funerals were recorded in the church books, the entry of the name occurred often according to phonetic features. One was called how oneself wanted to be named and adapted also the name to the spirit of the time. Only in the 19th century, the spelling of the name Gueinzius stabilized itself so that from these different spelling two conserved themselves today only: Gueinzius and Weintz.

But it's verified, that all present bearer of the name Gueinzius are descendants of the Master Christian Gueintz. About the family founder, Master Christian Gueintz
While the name Gueinzius is represented in the German telephone directory at the end of the 2nd millennium with more than 20 entries, one can find the name Weintz there with more than 130 entries. German phone book of TeDeMedien

Latinization of the name

At the time of the Renaissance humanism of the 14th to 16th century, one turned themselves away from church dogmatism and required the rediscovery and care of Greek and roman language, literature and science. That leads to the fact that scientists changed their names into one of these languages form.

About Renaissance humanism
Usual methods were to translate the own name into a language of the antiquity. In such a way, the Greek name Melanchthon was given to Mr Schwarzerdt (German black earth) coming from Bretten in Baden, what means black earth. He became known as a combatant of the reformer Luther. About Philipp Melanchthon

Today the name Schwarzerdt is widespread in its home town Bretten.

Another method was to added a roman extension to his name. The most popular extension was "us" where a vowel was set in between if the original name ended with a consonant.

Favoured was too, the name to adapt in spelling to roman or Greek language. Those who Latinized our name would never have made Weinzius from Weinz because there is no "W" in the roman alphabet. From phonetically possible spelling, Gueinzius or Queinzius only remained for Latinization.

There are further examples for this: Willimann - Quillmann, Winigard - Quinckardt, Winger - Quinger, Vinat - Quinat, Win - Quin [5].

About the Melanchthon city Bretten

Not-Latinized name form

Investigating the name origin one must begin at the not-Latinized form Gueintz, Queintz and Queinz. In this case, the "Qu" can not be interpreted onto an older Indo-European form how Gotthold Gueinzius has thought. The first or Germanic sound shift mentioned by him took place between the 5th century before Chr. and 3rd century after Chr. The second or High-German ones took place between the 6th and 7th century after Chr. [1]. Both took place long time before these possible modification of the names.

The "Qu" rather represent a variant of "W" [2]. The change from "Wie-" and "Wie-" to "Quie-" and "Quei-" must be interpreted as a "missed Latinization", as a spelling leaned to the roman [2], [3]. The remarkable sentence is located at Heintze-Cascorbi for this: "Even evil sounding deformations like Gueinzius, Heineccius, Cocceji, become firmly fixed."

Without doubt Gueinzius is the Latinized form of the older names Weitz, Weinz, Weintz.

Origin of the surname Weintz

No doubt, the name Weintz goes back to the basic form Winizio. There are two interpretation approaches for this:

1. A connection with "vinid" = Wende (Slavic tribe which lived between Elbe and Oder rivers), Slave [4], that however is not generally accepted [5] [2] and

2. as a formation with the suffix "-iz" [6] and that was already found by Gotthold Gueinzius a derivation of the Germanic "wini" = "Freund" (friend) [4] [2].

Appending of a suffix for the fondling or reducing coloring of a name was widespread. The z-suffix was within the 11th century dominant [6].

The modification to "-ei-" has its cause in mixing with "wine" and/or because of its position before "-n" [7].

"Little friend" would it mean transmitting the name origin to presence.

Under scientific counsel by Mr. Prof. Udolph from the Section Onomastics at the Institut Slavistic of the Universty Leipzig
The Germanic name wini = Freund (friend) is provable since the 5th century in names [2].


Meyers großes Taschenlexikon, Mannheim, Leipzig, Wien, Zürich 1992

 Heintze, Albert; Cascorbi, Paul: Die deutschen Familiennamen, 7. Auflage, Halle/Saale 1933

Zoder, R.: Familiennamen in Ostfalen, Band 1, Hildesheim 1968

Förstemann, Ernst: Altdeutsches Namenbuch, Band 1: Personennamen, Bonn 1990

 Gottschald, Max: Deutsche Namenkunde, Berlin, New York 1982

Kunze, Konrad: dtv-Atlas Namenkunde; Vor- und Familiennamen im deutschen Sprachgebiet, München 1998

Kaufmann, Henning: Ergänzungsband zu: Förstemann, E., Personennamen, München, Hildesheim 1968



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