The surname Nendel

The surname Nendel is of patronymic origin, which means it was derived from the fathers forename. But this forename can not be reproduced exactly. Known is the existence of the Germanic name Nando. It contains the element „Nant“, which is translated as „to dare“.1 This name element goes back to the Gothic nanthjan, the Old High German nendan, the Middle High German nenden signifying „daring, bold, to pluck up courage“ and can be found in all German dialects. The ancient German full names Nantwig, Wiegnand, Siegnand, Folknant, Ferdinand are first expressions of this element`s development in the formation of names.2

By attaching the suffix –ilo, which was an adaption of the South German diminutive –lî, a special closeness was expressed. The name Nandilo was formed. But the added vowel /i/ was so strong that the preceding vowel /a/ was reduced to an /e/.3 The name Nendilo, which was formed this way, can be already found in the 9th century. In the year 864, for instance, a „mancipium“, a servant called Nendilo was mentioned in connection with an exchange of properties between Ambricho, the archbishop of Regensburg, and Otkarius, the archbishop of Eichstädt .4

The development from the forename to the surname can not be exactly dated. But it is rather remarkable in this context that in the earliest description of the Bayreuth district, dating from the year 1398, the name Nentel (the local franconian version of the name) appears both as surname and as forename. Here, Heinrich, Cuntz, and Fridel Nentel are recorded along with Nentel Pauer and Nentel Reuter.5


1 GOTTSCHALD, M. (1982): Deutsche Namenkunde, Berlin.
2 FÖRSTEMANN, E. (1900): Altdeutsches Namenbuch. Band I: Personennamen, Bonn.
3 BERNDT, S. (2004): Linguistisches Gutachten, Gesellschaft für Namenkunde e.V., Leipzig.
4 RIED, T. (1816): Codex chronologico diplomaticus episcopatus Ratisbonensis. Regensburg, 774 Seiten.
5 PÖHLMANN, Th. (1998): Die älteste Beschreibung des Amtes Bayreuth - Das Landbuch A von 1398, Rabenstein Verlag, Bayreuth.

Village Names                              Roots                             Chronicle