Foreign Origins

The foreign origin of Brumbach Families

Origin of Name

The name is of German origin, spelled Brumbach, and is found in both German and Swiss records with "u" and "o." "Brum" is apparently a contraction of "Brummen," meaning noisy or roaring, something humming. "Bach," a brook. The name in the first instance described an ancestor by locality, a common old method of designation. Thus, the German spelling of Brumbach suggests they came from an area with a roaring brook.

Owing to the unfamiliaritywith German pronunciation in this country, names ending in "bach" usually became "baugh."Whether written with the more prevalent "u" or "o" it was pronounced with the long German "oo" as in moon, or more rarely with the short "u" sound in good.

Whenever the German speaking ancestor executed deeds, and other legal papers, the English scribe in America usually wrote the name "Broombaugh," or "Brombaugh." An error once made in an important deed or in other important papers, the ancestor sometimes simply made the small change in his name so as to conform to the erroneous writing of the name.

Besides the spellings used above, a few additional variations of the name are Brumback, Brownbaugh, Brownback, Brombach, Broombaugh, Brombaugh, Brombagh, Brumbough, Brombuch, Brumboch. Some of the earliest records in Europe mention the name Brambach or Prampach.

Ancestral homeland

.It has not been accurately determined the ancestry of the immigrant Brumbach ancestors, though extensive investigations have been made in Europe. The 1913 comprehensive book, Genealogy of the Brumbach Families written by Dr. Gaius Marxus Brumbaugh, presents European records researched which identify Brumbach families in Switzerland, Germany, and France. The Thirty Years' War waged in the German states from 1618-1648 destroyed many records,as well as causing a general dispersion of the various branches of the families.

The Brumbach families seemed to locate in two separate areas - in the Wiesental River valley, which flows into the Rhine near Basel, Switzerland, and in Westphalia, about fifty miles east of Cologne, Germany. It seems to be definitely established that an extensive family settled in an ancient settlement in the Wiesental valley called "Brombach," from which they took their name. Brombach families can be found in Basel, Rheinfelden, Beuggen, Brombach, Minseln, Nordschwaben, Karsan and the surrounding area on both side of the Rhine River.

Those families remaining at Minseln, Nodschwaben and Karsan remained Catholic in the Reformation period, while those at Rheinfelden became Protestants - under different governments. The inhabitants of Rheinfelden early left the Catholic religion, became Protestants, and later Altkatholiken (old Catholic, or reformers), which they remain. These inhabitants suffered greatly and were bitterly persecuted, causing most of the inhabitants to emigrate during the eighteenth century - the Brombachs-Brumbachs then emigrated.

A German book, Brombach im Wiesental, written by Lahr in 1905 describes the ancient town and castle. Some quotes from the book follow.

"In the record from the eight century the place is called 'Prampahach,' in those of the twelfth century 'Brambach,' and in the sixteenth century 'Brombach.' that is etymologically exactly according to the law of the language, and not one link is missing in the chain of sound shifting [of the consonant sounds in the Old-Middle and New-High German]. And what does the name mean? There was a word in the time of Charlemagne which was spelled prama, in the time of the Crusades brame, and at the time of Luther bram and brom, an this means a 'long, pointed stalk' … The same etymologic relationship, only botanically applied, is our brombeer stranch (blackberry bush). Thus then Brombach has its name from that which we had conjectured at the first glance: from Bach (brook) along the pointed blackberry bushes.""Kaiser Rudolph (von Hapsburg) was victorious. He captured and destroyed fortress Reicchenstein and caused a terrible slaughter among the inhabitants. At that time, about 13270, the persecuted knights seem to hav come over to Brombach and established a firm hold in hiding place between the meadow and two streams running by. From the ruins and traditions one can learn that the castle was a real building about 45 meters long by 35 meters wide. On its four corners stood out great towers and the whole was surrounded with moats.""We have two entries in the church records: 'In the year 1676 this village of Brombach, during the French war, was burned and reduced to ashes till about 7 houses left; and further in a burial account a marginal note says: Brombach burned and reduced to ashes except a very few houses.' 'On the 29th of June, 1678, the Rottler Castle went up in flames after the enemy had found the entrance by means of a traitor.'""During the thirties and forties of the 18th century the Brombacher could not make progress because of the continuous dangers and demands of war, but in the second half of the century there was lasting peace. It required, however, a long time until the living conditions were mad better, and until he number of inhabitants was a little increased."

Besides the ravages of wars, from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century there were six large floods in the Wiesental valley.

The second area where the Brumbach families seemed to originate was in Westphalia, near the town of Muesen, a few mile north of Siegen and about fifty miles east of Cologne, Germany. The Germanna Record #5 by B. C. Holtzclaw records the original ancestor of the Brumbach name "Der Sohn" (the son?) born about 1495-1500. This lineage down to the present is documented from civil records and church records of Muewen and Ferndorf in Westphalia.

This area, which had rich iron deposits, often near the surface, had been a mining and metal-working center for centuries. In the thirteenth century it was found that water power could be used to run the smelters and drive the hammers that worked the iron. By the fifteenth century iron works run by waterpower were located on numerous streams where iron ore was available. Although the nobility who possessed the area founded the mills at first, the iron works soon passed into the hands of the worker-owners. This Guild of Smelters and Hammer-smiths lived in the country near their plants, and thus began to break down the distinction between the peasants and the citizens of the city promoting an independent, democratic spirit.

Due to a lack of waterpower in the dry season and scarcity of charcoal to heat the ore, the iron works did not run all year. This permitted the owners to farm also. Each village had a Hauberg, or "hewing mine," of which most of the people had a share. This is how it was managed. The land was divided into 20 strips. At the end of 20 years the trees in one strip were cut, the wood to fuel and charcoal, and the bark for tanneries. The next year young trees were planted. After several years it was sown in grain, and later was used to pasture cattle until the trees wee mature and read to be cut again.

The counts of the House of Nassau had large possessions in Germany before the thirteenth century, of which Siegen and Muesen belonged. Over time the ruling counts would change and their religion, whether Catholic or Protestant, would become the state religion. During the Thirty Years' War both Protestant and Catholic princes claimed this area. Since each wanted permanent control and wanted it intact, it escaped the ravishment and depopulation of many parts of Germany.

At the early date of 1582 universal compulsory education was established in Nassau-Siegen. Because of the varied economy, relatively little war damage, and education the inhabitants enjoyed a moderate amount of prosperity. By the time of the first migration to America this area was one of the most progressive and prosperous in Germany.

Dr. Gaius Brumbaugh wrote, "A careful study of the reproduced immigrants lists, or ship papers, will show that the Brumbaugh-Brombach immigrants, whose signatures have been preserved, wrote good German scrip, even paying attention to the umlaut, or distinction for u."

From the immigrant Johannes Henrich Brumbaugh down through the generations a large number of descendants were members of the German Baptist Brethren Church.

Sources Used

Harness, Helen Ummel, The Family History of John Ummel (1861-1942) and Ella Lambert (1874-1951), 1999