english versionEnglish Version
I have been engaged in genealogical research for approximately 25 years and concurrently collected as much data as possible regarding persons with the name Hansel, Hensel, and similar forms. Recently it has been necessary to limit my time to individual cases of family research. It is my wish and objective, however, to continue and also broaden my research into the Hansel/Hensel data collection project of these name occurrences throughout the world.
Concerning the origins and meaning of the names Hansel/Hensel, below is a quote concerning this matter from the Name Studies Department of the Society of Onomastics of the University of Leipzig, Germany:
The names Hansel/Hensel is an example of a family surname which derived from a Christian first name. These were passed down to another person, usually from the father, with another Christian name added. This practice became common and the names became independently accepted. Thereby a Christian name and a family name could be absolutely identical or be drastically changed through shortening or lengthening etc. This is not the case, however, with “Hansel”, as it is the short and affectionate or familiar form of “Hans”, with an”l” suffix. This comes originally from the Christian name “Johannes” which is a Hebrew name meaning “ Yahweh” or “God is Merciful” John the Baptist and the apostle John made the name quite popular from early times and it was therefore spread very rapidly and widely.
The name “Hans” has also been a very popular name since at least the 14th century. There is very large number of shortened or familiar forms of the name “Hans, both in German, and other languages, such as, John, Jack, Joan, Jean, Sean, Iven or Ivan, Jens, Jan, Janic, Giovanni, etc. Concerning the “Hansel” version of the name one must naturally think first of the well known fairy tale Hansel and Gretel by the Grimm brothers, but also of others such as “Hans in Gluck” (Jack in Luck), Hans Huckbein (The Unlucky Raven) by Wilhelm Busch, the clown “Hanswurst,” Hansdampf in allen Gassen”, (Jack of all trades), and also HansGuckindieLuft,(Johnny Look in the Air) and others.
Should you have the name Hansel, or Hensel or other variation yourself, or among your forefathers, I would appreciate it if you would make available the suitable data, preferable in the form of a gedcom file, for my database on the subject.