Zimmerman Surname Genealogy

Zimmermann is a German
occupational surname, the older German term for a carpenter (more
modern terms
are z
immerer, tischler, or schreiner). Zimmermann

  • either zimmer meaning “room” or zimber meaning
  • with mann meaning “man” or “worker.”

This gave room worker or worker in wood and then

The second
“n” in Zimmermann usually got lost in its travels to America and other
English-speaking countries. And a number
Zimmermans in America adopted the English surname form of Carpenter. Later some Zimmerman arrivals were Jewish.

Zimmerman Resources on

Zimmerman Ancestry

Zimmermann appeared at an early time in southern Germany
and in Switzerland. Early recordings

  • Cunrod Zimmermanin of Tailfingen
    in Wurttemberg in the charters of Balingen in 1200
  • Henricus Zimbermann in Zurich, Switzerland in
  • while Cunrat Czimeri was seen in
    Wurttemberg in 1335.

Johann Jacob
Zimmermann, born in Wurttemberg in 1642, was a nonconformist Lutheran
who developed a following in Hamburg. He
planned to establish a colony in Pennsylvania, but died on the voyage across
in 1694.

The Zimmermann name has spread across Germany. Today
it is the 20th most common surname in
Germany, numbering some 160,000, and the 14th most common in
numbering around 20,000.

America. The Zimmerman
and Zimmermann
spellings are both found in America, although
Zimmermann has
been the less common – less than 10 percent today.
Pennsylvania provided the first landing
point. Indeed, even by the time of the
1840 census, Pennsylvania accounted for 45% of all the Zimmermans in

Pennsylvania. Maria
Zimmerman, widow of the theologian Johann Jacob, did arrive with her
in Pennsylvania in 1694 as part of the Hamburg group under the new
of the mystic Johannes Kelpius. Kelpius
started a religious community at Wissahickon Creek near Philadelphia.

This community dissolved shortly after
Kelpius’s death in 1708, but the Zimmerman presence in the area
continued after that time:

  • Maria’s son Jacob was a Mennonite preacher at
    Skippack in Montgomery county
  • and his
    son Christopher held family residences at Worcester township in
    county and at Whitpain township near Philadelphia.

Later, a number of Zimmermans moved away – to
Tennessee in the late 1700’s and to Ohio and Indiana in the early

Zimmerman came from Bern in Switzerland to Germantown, Pennsylvania in
where he established himself as a physician.
Around 1726 he began buying land in Lancaster county.

he applied for his patent and gave his name, the official in charge
said, ‘That
would be Carpenter in English,’ and the patent was thereupon issued in
latter name.”

From that time on, many of the descendants adopted the English
name, while a few adhered to the original Zimmerman.

Michael Zimmerman came on the Edinburgh
in 1753 and settled in Lancaster county.
Thirty years on, he moved to new land in Somerset county in
Pennsylvania. A later Zimmerman there, Daniel Burnside Zimmerman,
was one of
the pioneers of the coal industry in Somerset county in the early

Elsewhere. Another early arrival
was Jacob Zimmerman from the Rhineland Palatinate who came with his
wife Anna
to Schoharie in upstate New York around 1713.
By the 1750’s his family had settled
on land
in what is now Manheim in Herkimer county.
The family spelling here often became Timmerman.

Zimmerman, also from the Rhineland Palatinate, had initially come to
Philadelphia in 1751. But then, seven
years later after his marriage, he moved to the Moravian settlement in
Friedberg, North Carolina.

“Christian and his wife Anna were threatened by
Indians shortly after their arrival and took shelter in 1760 at the
fort for several months.”

Some of their children remained in North Carolina;
others migrated to Indiana.

Zimmermans in the late 1700’s in the Orangeburg
and Spartanburg counties in South Carolina appear to have originated
earlier Zimmermans that had come to the Germanna settlement of Germans
Virginia in 1717.

Zimmerman, born
in Orangeburg county in 1798, married Mary Riley, a celebrated beauty
who was
known as the “belle of Orangeburg.’
He and his brother Major David Zimmerman moved to Cedar Springs
in the
eastern part of Spartanburg county.
Their cousin John Conrad Zimmerman had purchased the Glenn
plantation in 1830, not far from Cedar Springs.”

The Zimmermans in Spartanburg county grew to be sizeable and descendants have
organized reunions.

Heading West. Some had come to
Pennsylvania and then headed

Zimmerman, for instance, was an immigrant from Switzerland who had
arrived in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania around 1830.
There he and his family met up with Dr. William Kiel, a German
planning his own religious communities.
The Zimmermans followed him in 1842 first to Bethel, Missouri
where they
developed a reputation as glove-makers and then in 1863, via the Panama
isthmus, to Aurora in Oregon territory.

Jacob Zimmerman from Baden came to
Philadelphia in 1843 and initially settled with his wife in Cincinnati,
Ohio. They then headed west on a
wagon-train to
Oregon with their two children in 1851.
They were one of the early settlers of Fairview.
Later, in 1869, they purchased land at
Gresham where they built their home and started a dairy farm. Three generations of the Zimmerman family
lived there. It now operates as a
historic house museum.

Another Zimmerman
line went further afield, to Alaska.
John Willms Zimmerman had arrived from Germany around 1848 and
in Illinois. His grandson John Franklin,
better known as Frank, trained as a mining engineer and rushed out to
Alaska in
1897 at the time of the Gold Rush. Frank
died in a mining accident at Dome Creek in 1929. His
widow and children moved to Los Angeles.

Charles Sasha
Ubsushone arrived in New York from Ukraine in 1913 at the age of
sixteen to join
his relatives who were already living there.
On entry, an official at Ellis Island changed his
name to
Sasha Zimmerman and he was thereafter known by that name.
had a
career spanning five decades as a trade union official in New York with
International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union.

Another Jewish immigrant from Ukraine was
Zigman Zimmerman who arrived in 1910 and settled in Duluth, Minnesota. His line led
to Bob Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan

Canada. Zimmermans came to
Canada from various places – the earlier ones across the border from
later ones from Germany and Russia.

America came:

  • three
    Zimmerman brothers
    from New Jersey – Peter, James and Mathias – who were Loyalists and
    Clinton township in the Niagara region of Ontario in 1794.
    Peter and Mathias moved to Halton county in
    1814, Peter to Burlington and Mathias to Nelson township.
  • while
    Samuel Zimmerman arrived in the Niagara
    region from Pennsylvania in 1842. He
    proved a shrewd businessman who quickly made a fortune in construction
    work. However, he died at the young age
    of forty-two in a railway accident.

Zimmerman from Baden came to the Wellesley township in the Waterloo
region of
Ontario sometime in the 1850’s. He was a
wagon-maker by trade. In his latter
years he became an inn-keeper, having acquired what came to be known as
the Zimmerman House in 1882. He and his
Catherine had apparently twenty children between 1860 and 1888. Henry died in 1898.

Nathan Zimmerman and
his son Benjamin arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba from Russia in 1882,
the political persecutions and pogroms against Jews at the time. Nathan started as a peddler and later opened
a pawnbrokers’ shop. Benjamin became a
leader of the Jewish community in Winnipeg and a successful
businessman. Meanwhile
Heinrich Zimmerman from a Mennonite
in Ukraine came to
Manitoba in 1903 and later settled in Saskatchewan.

Zimmerman Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Zimmerman Names

Johann Jacob
was a nonconformist Lutheran minister who
organized the departure of his family and his followers in Hamburg to
Pennsylvania in 1694 (although he himself was unable to complete the
Daniel Zimmerman had two successful careers, one as a cattle rancher
in the American West in the late 1800’s and the second as a coalmine
in western Pennsylvania in the early 1900’s.

Arthur Zimmerman
from New Jersey was
one of the world’s greatest sprint cyclists and winner of the first
championship in 1893.
, better known as Ethel Merman, was a Broadway
star of the 1950’s and 1960’s. She was
often referred to as the first lady of musical stage comedy.
Bob Zimmerman
from Minnesota changed his name to Bob Dylan in 1960. As a singer-songwriter and performer he has
been a major figure in American popular culture for more than half a

Select Zimmermans Today

  • 42,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




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