OHMER surname origin
By Gerard E. Ohmer – from his OHMER Genealogy book
What does the OHMER name mean?
- from an agent derivative of Middle High German ?ame, ?ome ‘standard measure’, hence an occupational name for someone who checked and sealed weights and measures.
- (Öhmer): topographic name (mostly Swiss), for someone who lived or owned a farm in a wider, flat part of a valley, a variant of Ebner.
- status or occupational name from Middle High German ebenære ‘arbitrator’, ‘judge’.
Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
Is there a basis for the OHMER name? The information is neither definitive nor satisfactory. Quite understandably my contacts have frequently asked concerning the origin or meaning of the OHMER name. Neither the origin nor meaning of the name has been determined. I believe the name is unique because it is without meaning and was the creation of various notaries using phonetics as their basis. Also, I believe it was originally “AUMER” and from the immediate area of Munich, Bavaria (München, Bayern).
The earlier form of “Aumer” would have no meaning in the German language. The difference between “Ohmer” and “Omer” is only old high and old low, German. The form “Omer” appears in the area near Belgium. AUMER does appear in parts of the Bavarian Alps. A similar name, ALMER, in Switzerland is described as a dairy farmer from high pasture. In French, Aumer would mean “From (or to) the sea.” This makes no sense for a name in the Rhine Valley. Further research through 1998 leads me to assume that prior to about 1650 the name was AUMER or AUMEIER. There may have been no difference in the pronunciation. Of necessity, I must resort to speculation. One unlikely theory has to do with the name OHMER being the occupation of the noun “ohmen” where an obscure meaning is an oaken beer barrel with a capacity of 159 liters. From this, an OHMER would be a man who calibrated such barrels. One reason this interpretation might have occurred is that AMER can have the meaning “to measure” or “to gauge.”
One AUMER from the immediate area of Munich suggested it had the meaning of a broad, high meadow near a river. This could be a valid since AU (and similar words such as awa, ouwa, and ouwe) originally meant water or stream and later wetlands. I must choose the judgment of two multilingual persons from Alsace, the area where the name seems to have first occurred. By multilingual I mean individuals who are fluent in German, French, Latin and English. It is complicated and the name must be deconstructed.
The name starts with two elements. “AU” meaning a meadow and “MEIER” meaning the head of a farm, that is the supervisor or manager of a farm or farmland depending on situation or location of the farm property. AU combined with MEIER can have the meaning of “manager of the meadow property.” AU phonetically became OH in the Pfalz. MEIER was contracted to MER. Thus the name became OHMER in the Pfalz and Lorraine.
My multilingual contacts agree that OHMER, AHMEIER, AUMER, AUMAYER, AUMEYER and similar surnames are all derived from AU and MEIER. There is no reason to believe that persons with these names are related; only that their names were derived from the same occupation some 300 years ago. Ins Strasbourg, one reference book on names in the genealogy library mentions a Laurent AUMEIER from about 1300.