Origin of the name Hellenbrand

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Source: Deutsches Namenlexicon, Hans Bahlow

There are many variations: Hel(l)e(n)bran(d)(t)(s), Hille(n)bran(d)(t)(s)(z), Hilde(n)bran(d)(t)(s), Ho(e)lle(n)bran(d)(t)(s). In our family tree we used mostly the name as found in the (civil or church) marriage registers. If we found a variation in other deeds or registrations, they're mentioned.

hellfamwap.jpgThe origin of the name is germanic: hildtja means battle, brandt means sword. Of the same origin is the word hellbard.

Another possibility is prandt, meaning  burning wood. A flaming torch or sword is often shown in family crests related to Hellenbrand, Hildebrand and similar names, mainly in Germany. The family crest depicted here comes from Bavaria (1757).

Yet another explanation refers to Hilda, the old Nordic goddes of death and queen of the underworld. Hellenbrand is then interpreted as Sword/Torch of Hilda.

The oldest reference (ca. 800) is possibly the 'Hildebrandslied'.

Pope Gregorius VII (1072-1086, see nr. 157 in this list) was also called 'monk Hildebrand'.

Dutch writer Nicolaas Beets used the pseudonym Hildebrand, for instance as writer of the Camera Obscura.


Spread
In the Netherlands the name occurs in several areas, mainly in the provinces of Limburg, the western part of North-Brabant/Zeeland and the north-east.. In Belgium mainly in the east. Descendants of this branch moved to Vaals around 1800. In northern France the name occurs mainly in the area around Metz.
Also in the areas that used to belong to the Holy Roman (or German) Empire and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and a few in Scandinavia.
At this moment I don't know if all these branches are related.

As far back as around 1800 some people named Hellenbrand, from northern France as well as from the Netherlands, emigrated to the United States (Maine and New York). On old passenger lists you can see that Hellenbrands also moved overseas in the early 20th century.

Here you can check fairly recent spreads on-line:
the Netherlands
Belgium
Germany
Italy
France (fill out name at 'Noms de famille').
United States (1840, 1880, 1920)