What's In A Name?

For the better part of my life, I have been asked the same question more than anything else...
"How do you say your name (Pfalzbot)?"

To set the record straight, the correct pronounciation of the name is: faults - boat
There are variations on the name as well and the most common pronounciation that seems to stick is: falls - bought.
You really don't want to know the "other" names I've been called as a result of having an odd name!

But no matter how they say it, it always leads to the next question...
"What kind of name is that and does it mean anything?"

Die Pfalz Well, from what I have been told and from what I have researched, the name is definately of Germanic descent. It is a shortened version of "Von Der Pfalzbotein" or "Vonderpfalzbotein" - try writing or saying that twenty times! I cannot exactly verify the original name - documents have been lost or destroyed, but it fairly safe to say that anyone who has a name beginning with "Pfalz" is a distant relative or neighbor.

Shortened, the name Pfalzbot simply means "folded boat". But in the lengthened original version, the name translates out to something like a Baron (or Duke) of the mariners of the castle Pfalz. I did come across another translation that was something akin to "castle scribe".

Die Pfalz Though I lived in Germany for awhile, I never saw this castle but heard a few stories about it. I hope to someday return for a visit and make it a point to see this castle.

The Pfalz is now more commonly known as the Rheinland-Pfalz, a palatinate (state) in the western portion of Germany. In research, one will find many references to the word Pfalz and several nearby castles.

The pictures that you see on this web page are pictures of a castle named Pfalz. In the middle of the Rhine River in Germany, near Kaub, which is midway between Koblenz and Wiesbaden. The castle was used by the local count to enforce his demands for tolls for using the Rhine River as a transportation corridor past his property. This view of the castle, looking downstream, shows that three cannon ports and the strength of the building. As most people know, the Rhine River runs quite rapidly (about 4 knots) and is subject to flooding. The castle was built to withstand the high water, which it has done for centuries. The initial five sided toll tower (in the center) was constructed in 1327 and the three story outer defense wall was built a century or two later. In 1607 the bastion (for the cannon) was added, making the complex look like a stone ship in the river.

From as best as I can tell and trace, this was where my fathers side of the family originated. What can really be confusing though is that my name has not always been Pfalzbot. My mother and father divorced when I was very young and for whatever reason, when she remarried a few years later, I adopted my step-fathers name of Ballard for a number of years. I went completely through high school to graduation before having to legally use my name of Pfalzbot. Life can often deal us the strangest cards! Gary Ballard or Gary Pfalzbot...what's in a name?

Die Pfalz

Die Pfalz

Email: gary@jollygerman.com
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