Origin of the Mangold Family Name – By Peter Mangold

Böckten, Basel-Country Switzerland

Mr. Peter Mangold from Switzerland was kind enough to leave this information on our blog regarding the origins of the Mangold name. His original comment can be found HERE. I hope those with our unique name will find this helpful. A special thanks goes out to Peter for his research.

I just found your blog as I out of curiosity entered my own name in Google. I’m a Mangold from northwestern Switzerland, a Region where this surname is relatively widely spread. In fact, as I know, the Mangold surname originated in southern Germany, a region not far from northwestern Switzerland. Still today, most bearers of this name in Europe live in this area. As far as I know, the ancestors of my family moved in from there somewhere at around 1400 – 1500. Around the year 1500, according to parish registers, a Mangold family lived in the tiny town of Böckten in the Canton (State) of Baselland. The very town my grandfather was born 100 years ago. Today, the village and its neighboring towns are still home to quite a lot of Mangolds – I grew up only a few miles away. (Official Böckten Website)

Mangold Origins – Personality to Rule
As of the origin of the name, I have other information than you: Personally, I think an origin in either Spain or Italy is unrealistic. First of all, mobility in the Middle Ages was much lower than today (very much lower!) and only very few people moved very far from where they were born. in fact, moving out of a certain area was even prohibited by the authorities in certain regions (because the people were subjects of their lords – and required a permission to move and even to marry outside of their district). Secondly, even if somebody settled down far away from where he came from (for example mercenaries that could not or would not return home), they were mostly given names referring to their place of origin rather than they kept their own names. This was not unusual, as in these days, people had normally only one name and their “last name” was either their fathers name, their profession or described where they lived (take as an example the Swiss-German name Amstutz meaning “the one who lives on the steep slope”) Therefore names could change quite quickly. When the need for proper identification became bigger as bureaucracies were created to administrate regions and rulers began to make lists of their subjects – such as parish registers – some names became permanent last names. These could again derive from either profession (for example Cooper and Miller), places or from a previous “first name” (so called patronymic). That was the case with Mangold as Mangold was – in the Middle Ages but no more today – a popular first name. It is in its development related to the name Walter – a german name that still is today both first name and last name. And as it is the case with Walter, it refers to a leadership position: Walter has its roots in Old German “waltan” and “heri”, meaning “to preside over, to dispose” and “army” as in modern German “walten” and “Heer”. Mangold derived from “manne” and “cwolt”, meaning “men” and “force, sway, violence” as in today’s German “Männer” and “Gewalt”. So it described someone who had the power and personality to rule.

I guess, the “legend” of an origin in Italy comes from a mistake (See referenced post here). Mangold is not only a name for a person but also the name of a plant in Germany (Chard or Silver Beet in English) and this plant has its origins around the Mediterranean Sea.

Greetings from Switzerland
Peter Mangold