Friedrich Froebel - Fröbel

origin of the Fröbel family name

The family name Fröbel first appears during the sixteenth century, when German was developing as a written language. The family name, which had been written in Latin as Frobenius, was written as Fröbel in the German of the Saxon chancery. All the free imperial cities and all the courts of princes wrote according to the chancery of the Saxons. It was the from of written German adopted by Martin Luther for the translation of the Bible because it was the most widely understood form of written German language.

The two dots over the letter "o" are called umlauts and denote a long vowel sound typical of plural forms. The umlaut derives from handwritten scripts where the letter "e" was a superscript. In the forms of handwriting, which emerged in the early modern period, the letter had two strong vertical lines, and the superscript looked like two tiny strokes. Gradually these strokes were reduced to dots, and as early as the 16th century we find this handwritten convention being transferred to printed texts.

The printing convention was that if umlauts were not available they were replaced by the letter "e". Fröbel becomes Froebel in email addresses or names of websites.

Members of the family who were fluent in Latin; priests, scholars or printers continued to use the form Frobenius, which was contracted to Froben when written in German. At the time of the Reformation, Fröbel became the preferred form for Lutheran pastors in Thuringia. Other family members used the German family name Frowein. All three forms appear in the written and printed records of the sixteenth century; Frowein, Frobenius and Fröbel. The form of the family name in particluar sources depends on the language of the document and the occupation of the person.


The family name Frowein is derived from the old German personal name Frodewin (Frohwein) which combines Frot meaning clever, wise, experienced and happy, bright, cheerful and Wini meaning friend or lover. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it was written as Freawine (born: about. 327), who was the governor of Schleswig and an ancestor of the kings of Wessex. In Latin it was written as Frowinus. An illustrated copy of the Bible was commissioned by the Abbot Frowinus (1142-1178), who established a scriptorium at the Benedictine Abbey at Engelberg, Switzerland. The modern version of the personal name is Frowin.


The epic poem Beowulf includes several references to freawine, which are usually translated and "friend and lord". A common kenning for lord was frea. Noah is referred to as flotmonna frea.

Frea or Frey was the name used by the Angles for the god of sun and rain, and the patron of bountiful harvests, which evolved into Freyr the Norse fertility god.

The Angles were part of the Federation of the Ingaevones, "people of Yngvi", described in Germania, written by Tactitus about 98 CE. Their mystic ancestor and god of fertility Yngvi was later called Freyr. The Angles may aslo be the Germanic tribe known to the Romans as Angrivarii, providing elite troops and urban and palace police from the time of Augustus.

Saint Boniface (Latin: Bonifacius; c. 680 - June 5, 754), the Apostle of the Germans, born Winfrid, Wynfrith, or Wynfryth in the kingdom of Wessex (now in Devon, England), was a missionary who propagated Christianity in the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He is the patron saint of Germany and the first archbishop of Mainz.

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