The Nuffer name

Coat of Arms for Martin Neuffer, 1594-1638

I had another person e-mail me this week attacking that I had the wrong spelling of my family line: Nuffer.  I am pretty sure I have my line correct because it shows on all legal documents, tombstones, and everything else I have seen.  I know some of the other family have changed their names to other variations thinking it is more correct.  I don’t really care to argue or dispute it, my direct line in the United States is not in question, nor is it in Germany for the first few generations before or after our family left.  Where the variations go before that are upon the spelling of an author and the spelling of names were not standardized.

Another entry from “We of Johann Christoph Nuffer, also known as: Neuffer, Nufer, Neufer,” The book was published in April 1990 by Dabco Printing and Binding Co in Roy, Utah.  I will quote from the book itself.

“The name Neuffer, Nuffer and its many forms is of Celtic Origin and later became an Alemann surname.

“The Celt’s were barbarian tribes which occupied Southwestern Germany from at least the late 6th century B.C..  They were remarkable for their height, muscularity and fair coloring.  Their basic economy was mixed farming.  They were noted for their high spirits and love of war and excitement generally.  They were hospitable, fond of feasting, drinking and quarreling, and incapable of prolonged concerted action.  They loved art and greatly prized music and many forms of oral literary composition.  (Encyclopedia Britannica).

“Many Celtic villages have been uncovered in the area of Southwest Germany where our ancestors came from.)

“The Alemanni or Alamanni were a loosely knit confederation of Germany tribes who were first mentioned in connection with a Roman attack on them in 213 A.D..  They were originally composed of fragments of several Germanic peoples.  They had no central government and only joined forces when it was necessary for their defense.  Their language became the High German Dialects used in the Southwesternmost part of the German speech area.  Modern alemannic dialects include Swiss German, Alsatian and the German dialects spoken in Liechtenstein and the extreme western part of Austria.  (Encyclopedia Britannica).

“This is probably a major contributor of the Swabian dialect that our ancestors and the current population of Wurttemberg speak.  It is significantly different from the modern High German.

“Stawitz has stated that the meaning of the name refers to adjectives such as Awake, Springhtly, Merry, Gay, Chipper, Hale & Hearty, Vivacious, Full of Life, Ardent, Fervent, Lively.  (“Richard Stawitz “Die Neuffer aus Munsingen”)

“The name is part of a great group of original surnames in Southern Germany ending in er and one of the seven most prominent names in the region of the State of Wurttemberg.  (Die Nueffer aus Munsingen 1400-1900 by Richard Stawitz)

“The German pronunciation of the name is as follows:  Nuffer = Noofa oo as in book, short a.  The above is only an approximation of the u sound since there is no sound in the English language that exactly duplicates the German u in this case.  Neuffer = Noifa, oi as oy in boy, short a.  Nufer = Newfa.  When a name ends in er the r is dropped.

“The family name may have been taken from the town of Neuffen.  However, this is not certain as it appeared in several areas at about the same time.  This is about the time of the first written records in that part of Germany.  Since it is apparent that the name preceded the first records it becomes impossible to trace its exact origin.

“Today in Germany the Family Neuffer is the largest and most prominent of the different Neuffer, Nuffer, etc. families and Nuffer is the second.  There have been many other spellings of the name such as Nifer, Neifer, Neiffer, Nyfer, Neyfer, Neufer, Nufer, Nufer, Nuofer, Nuover, Nuber, Nuffer, and others.

“Our family came from Neuffen and spelled their name Nuffer for the last 2 generations prior to emigrating and Nufer for 3 generations before that.  Prior to the early 1700’s we have no positively accurate genealogical connections but it appears that we are connected to the Neuffer family.

“Since coming to America most of the family have kept the name as Nuffer but some members have changed it to Neuffer or Nufer.  Given the fact that the name has changed several times over the history in Germany it cannot be said that there is such a thing as “the” correct spelling.

“It is interesting to note that in Germany today if you find a community with Neuffers in it you will seldom find any Nuffers there and vs.  In the town of Neuffen which is supposedly the source of the Neuffer name there are no Neuffers living there, only Nuffers.  There is no record of any Neuffers having been born there.  There are records however of Neuffers having lived there for short periods as Government or Church officials.

“There is no doubt that we can bear this name with pride and dignity when we understand the noble origins and the distrinction with which our forbearers have carried it.

Included with this explanation regarding the Nuffer name, there is also a letter from W. Peter Nuffer of Richfield, Utah dated 4 January 1990 to Lloyd Neuffer of Ogden, Utah.  This letter included an editors note: “Because of Peter’s wide experience, while living and working in Germany, in searching original records and talking to many people carrying the different forms of the Neuffer name, he was appointed, at the Nuffer family reunion, in 1988, to determine the proper spelling of the name.  His opinion, contained in his letter, was that the spelling used during life should be used.  An attempt to follow this idea was used in compiling this family history.

Here are the contents of the letter.

“Dear Lloyd,

“After researching and thinking more about the subject I think it would be a mistake to spell Johann Christoph’s name Neuffer on the cover of the book.  I fear it would bring considerable criticism to you and may weaken the authenticity of the book.  Expecially since any serious researcher would not be able to find convincing evidence to favor the spelling Neuffer in relation to Johann Christoph.

“You say that you have seen the Neuffer spelling on Logan Temple records.  I have not been able to locate that, in fact enclosed you will find a copy of the Logan Temple Index card which shows the spelling as Nuffer.  On his birth and marriage records in Neuffen the name is spelled Nuffer.  (See enclosed copy of the Neuffer parish records).  On the U.S. immigration records and the Wurttemberg emigration records it is also shown as Nuffer.  (see enclosed emigration index).

“You mentioned that the researcher you hired spelled it Neuffer.  This is the case only on the pedigree chart.  On the family group sheets it is spelled Nuffer.  I asked some researchers in the Salt Lake Family History Center why a researcher would have done this when the parish records that they used were clearly Nuffer.  They said that sometimes a researcher will use the same spelling all through a pedigree chart to maintain consistency even if the spelling is different for some individuals.  They said that this is especially true if it is the way the patron spells their name and if they indicate some sensitivity about the spelling.  They said a pedigree chart is only for convenience and is not considered an official document as a family group sheet is.

“As I have said before I have no hang up as to how anyone spells their name.  But I do feel strongly that when you use an individuals name such as Johann Christoph Nuffer it should be spelled the way he spelled it in life.

“Enclosed are some additional and updated sheets and a map for the book.

“Best Regard

“W. P. Nuffer

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More of the same; Life

Time keeps ticking by too quickly sometimes.  I have so much to write but not as much time as I would like to do it in.  Such is the limitations in the probationary game.  There are plenty of achievements to report though in the past week or two.
This evening I spoke with Gerald Neuffer in Columbia, Missouri.  In a most random turn of events, I noticed that a Jenna Neuffer became friends with my friend, Kami Lowe on Facebook.  With a name as rare as Neuffer, I knew all odds were in my favor of having a near shared ancestry.  I sent Miss Neuffer a message and asked for her Grandfather’s name and phone number.  Which she supplied.  Come to find out, I even had Gerald already in my family history.  I just had his first name Myron (Gerald is his middle name but he goes by it.  Probably due to remove confusion with his father’s name being Myron).  He knew the Andra’s well and said he remembered Millie, who was just younger than him.  Funny how small a world it is.  He went to get his PhD and never left Columbia after moving there in 1947.  We conversed for a little while he dug for information verifying I was not this total stranger calling for his family history for some other sinister reason.  He sounds like a good guy.  He asked if I was doing genealogy.  I confirmed I was and that I was the family historian.  He then happily related he was basically that for the Neuffer/Nuffer family.  I was definitely glad to hear that.  What is the chances of the Andra historian running into the Nuffer historian in Columbia Missouri?  Very far removed from Preston, Idaho!
I received a phone call from Jacqui yesterday about the Phibbs/Ross/Beachell family.  I tried returning her call and spoke with her mother for a few minutes.  I am glad she finally returned my message.  I only left it in May!  That was before we moved!
In other news, there was an e-mail that found its way to me from Robert in Fresno, California.  A most interesting question.  He asked if I knew of any of the siblings of my Constance Jorgensen.  I always felt Constance most likely had siblings but was never able to find any.  Between her parents marriage and Constance’s birth, there is twelve years.  I was sure there were other siblings.  Olavus and Hanna Mathea Jorgensen immigrated with Constance and settled in Richmond, Utah.  Constance married Ole Christiansen and gave birth to my Great Great Grandmother Martha Christiansen who is the mother of my Lillian Coley.  Constance died in Portland, Oregon while visiting and was buried there.  In the whole episode, I knew some day I would have to do some research in Norway to find the rest of this family.  Well, Robert e-mailed me asking me if his grandmother, Amanda Jorgensen Swensen could be a child of Olavus and Hanna.  He produced a copy of a hand written copy pedigree she had produced in 1935.  Sure enough, everything lined up.  Well, Amanda was born another 12 years after my Constance (24 after the marriage of the parents).  She immigrated to Utah a good 10 years after her parents and sibling came over and settled in Logan, Utah.  By the time she arrived her parents were both deceased and her sister had married.  It seems that she never knew she was only 15 miles from her parent’s graves and her sister.  The exciting news is that Amanda gave us the names of her siblings, none of which made it to America to her knowledge.  We added the 5 siblings.  Don’t know their ages, but definitely gives some more to go from.  That will give us much more to go from when the time for the Norway research begins.
I am happy to report I completed the New Testament this evening.  I am one day late.  If I had read the one chapter a day, I would have finished yesterday.  Last weekend put me just off enough that I did not catch up in time.  I completed the Book of Mormon on schedule this year on August 27th.  Now I can go through some General Conference talks and some other reading for the year.  Next year is the Doctrine and Covenants which you can almost read three times in a year.  I think I will just do it twice though.
The ward continues to blossom when it comes to family history.  It seems like people are doing their homework, research, and compiling regularly.  I have e-mails at least once or twice a week for help on something.  That is an indication something is going on.  That is definitely something which is a good thing.
Online the family history work continues to reveal new and interesting things.  I received an e-mail from a Homer Mason.  He was inquiring concerning the Jonas family in Washington State.  Come to find out, Anna Jonas is his Grandmother.  Anna was the daughter of William Jonas who was the brother to my Joseph Jonas; father to my great grandfather Joseph Nelson Jonas.  He knows very little so it has been fun introducing him to the family.  I have especially enjoyed his research on a line of the family I have not been able to crack.  It has proved not to be an easy line for him, but with his living in Yakima, he is much closer and capable of doing the work than I can.  I really hope I am accepted to the University of Idaho for Law School.  Then I could work on the Jonas, Ross, and Sharp lines in Washington State.
Stepping back to the Andra family.  This past weekend Amanda and I took a trip to Washington DC for our monthly temple visit.  But a new aspect as emerged.  My Great Uncle and Aunt, Donald and Lolane Andra, are now serving a mission in the temple.  We went up Friday night and stayed with Amanda’s Uncle and Aunt in Springfield.  Saturday we picked up Don and Lolane and made our way to Mt. Vernon.  They thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  It was the 18th Century Fair so there were masses of people.  Don and Lolane are good and quick on their feet.  Despite being in their 60’s they move well.  Don reminds me so much of my Great Grandpa.  I get a kick out of both of them.  We were limited on time as they had to be to the temple to work later in the afternoon.  We did probably the fastest walking tour of Mt. Vernon I can imagine.  We zoomed all over the grounds, through the fair, and then back up to their apartment to change and attend the temple.
On a side note, as I went into the endowment room, I noticed the officiator’s name was John Whatcott.  I looked at him and asked if he was from Kanosh.  He looked a bit surprised at me and said he grew up there.  I told him of the Whatcott’s I knew.  After the session he asked me to remain in the celestial room so we could visit.  We had a great visit.  Come to find out he knows Don and Lolane from St. George.  Small world.  Don knew which session we were on and waited for us to leave the celestial room.  He walked us down to the next floor and we parted again.  I met Don’s Home Teaching companion, Elder Toronto, while picking up Amanda’s Aunt’s glasses from the temple lost and found.  Funny how interlinked the world is, at least in the church.
I have not made mention of it yet, but I am going from contractor status to full associate status at Bank of America.  Meaning, I will be an employee of Bank of America and not an at will person filling a seat.  Many companies now do the contractor business as they can then hire on employees after they have shown their worth.  I must have done well enough for them to offer me employment starting October 1.  I am excited.  Business has been picking up.  I don’t know if it is from the crunch in the market or what.  Bank of America definitely stands on higher ground than those feeling the squeeze or sinking under the housing market.  One thing is for sure, with this rate cut, we are expecting the next month to be hectic.
My birthday came and went just like every other day or the year.  I am back to being congratulated for it being my unbirthday.  I received all sorts of e-mails (which will take me a good week to respond to them all), many messages on Facebook, and a couple of cards and gifts.  Amanda and I enjoyed a nice big meal at Chili’s for dinner.  We joked about it being our triannual beef night.  It is birthdays or anniversary that I get to eat a steak.  Monday was a 12 oz Ribeye.  Mmmm, so good.  That is of course not mentioning the Idaho potatos.  Amanda got me a shirt, a jump drive, and something else which slips me at the moment.  I also received a journal, a few checks, and some other random memorabilia.  I honestly don’t feel any different now than I think I did when I was 19.  Except the fact my knee was reconstructed in 2004 and doesn’t give me the issues it did at 19.  So I guess I feel better than at 19.  I have filled out in stature, even added a little padding in the middle,  and perhaps a little wiser.  Life is good.
My blessings continue to flow despite my inept nature.  I continue to be given the little peaceable things of the kingdom from time to time.  They make the living and endurance all worth it.  Line upon line right?  Sometimes I wish it was more page upon page, but alas, I am not the one running the show.  Church goes well.  I feel spiritually well.  Not the muscular behemoth I would like to be spiritually, but I feel strong enough to do what needs to be done and any forseeable adventure.