Saturday, August 1, 2015

Surname Saturday - Are the Roehm's from Ancient Rome?

Charles (Karl) Roehm, the only photo we have of our oldest Roehm descendent
Charles is my great-great grandfather on my mother's side.

One of my closer family surname's is that of Roehm. It's my grandmother's maiden name. It is likely not pronounced as "Rome," but that is often the pronunciation we hear. I believe is should be pronounced as "Rahm" 

There are many variations on how it's spelled, as well: 


von Roemer
von Romer

The meaning, per - 

Rohm Name Meaning

From the Germanic personal name Ruom (Old High German hruom ‘fame’), a short form of Ruombald and similar personal names containing this element.(Röhm): see Roehm.

Another website ( allows you to see how it is pronounced:

r OH m

And they also give the meaning behind it:


Wow, that's a lofty meaning behind a name. 

Others battle out on message boards whether Roehm really does have any ancient Roman ties to it, since the name is so similar in spelling and in pronunciation? seems to go with the idea that Roehms, and all of their variations, were truly once Romans. They also give a fairly elaborate account of the name which is mostly unseen elsewhere on the internet:

This surname ROHM is of German origin, a regional or ethic name for a Roman, or more generally for an Italian. The name was originally rendered in the Latin form of ROMAEUS. It was also a nickname for a pilgrim, and the name came to mean this because it was originally applied to travellers from the Western (Roman) Empire who had to pass through The Byzantine Empire on their way to the Holy Land. Later the name was used of pilgrims to Rome and to Santiago de Compostella. The name is also spelt ROMERO, ROMEO, ROMEI, ROHMER, ROMER, ROOMER and RUMMER. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized. An infamous member of the name was Ernst ROHM (also spelled ROEHM) (1887-1934) the Nazi leader, born in Munich, Germany. He became an early supporter of Hitler, and the organizer and commander of the stormtroopers (Brownshirts and Blackshirts). He became state commissar of Bavaria, but in 1934 his plans to increase the power of this force led to his execution on Hitler's orders.

This is by far the most interesting account of the name ROEHM. 

It's hard to say what is right without some deeper research. 

For now, I would like to say I have a little Italian in me *haha*