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  Name's origin  

 

Since the late middle ages the names of middle class families had their origins in occupations, class as well as living accommodations.

Today it is believed that the name Zinkgräf with its different spellings is based on the occupation of the Zentgraf. He was not of the nobility, but the person in charge of a hundred villages (centum is latin for hundred). He looked after the lower levels of the law. Over the course of the centuries the role of the Zentgraf changed.

This definition is different from the idea, that it has something to do with the "Zehnt", that is the possibility to levy a tenth in the name of the landowner.

The number of this occupation was quite low (one Zentgraf for 100 villages) compared to more regular professions, such as a baker, miller or smith (at least one for each village). The existence of different Zentgrafs in the German-speaking area explains that in some parts of the country this occupation became linked to their name, i.e. "Michael the Zentgraf" became over time "Michael Zentgraf" without these people being related to each other.

 

 

 
Literature:  
Bahlow, Hans   Deutsches Namenlexikon, Frankfurt am Main 1972
Brechenmacher, Josef K   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der Deutschen Familiennamen, Limburg/Lahn
Duden   Familiennamen - Herkunft und Bedeutung - , Bibliographisches Institut & F. A. Brockhaus AG, Mannheim 2005
Nied, Edmund   Fränkische Familiennamen, Heidelberg 1933, Carl Winters Universitätsbuchhandlung
Pott, August F.   Die Personen- und Familiennamen und ihre Entstehungsarten, Leipzig 1853 S. 273
 
 

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