As I have done many times when I have an appointment, I walked up to the receptionist’s desk and wrote my name on the pad – “Mark HAGENBUCH” (I print my last name and usually capitalize all letters). When she called my name to be waited on, I heard, “Mark, uhhh, Hagenbutch”.
I went up to her and corrected her nicely. “It’s pronounced Hagenbuch”, I said putting a “k” sound at the end.
“Oh, my apologies, Mr. Hagenbooth,” she replied.
I am very proud that I have a name that is unique. It is not Smith, Jones, or Brown. Because of its uniqueness I can trace my family line more easily and find almost every one of my Hagenbuch relatives in the United States and in many countries. But the way people mispronounce my last name does aggravate me.
Hagenbuch is of Swiss derivation as our family is from the town of Hagenbuch, which is north of Zurich. This area of Switzerland speaks German; so the correct phonetic spelling in that language is hah-gen-book, with the o’s in the BOOK syllable long and rhyming with kook (no pun intended). But, that “k” sound at the end is made in the back of the throat; that wonderful guttural German!
However, my family in Pennsylvania’s Montour, Columbia, and Northumberland Counties pronounced our name as “hag-en-boo” with HAG rhyming with tag. Growing up I wondered how that “ch” was silent. When I took German in High School, my teacher pronounced my last name in the correct German way and I liked it!
In 1978 my wife and I traveled to Germany for the first time. During those two weeks I used the German I knew to communicate and, in my joy, Hagenbuch was pronounced in correct guttural German. Wife Linda asked me why we (since she now used Hagenbuch instead of her maiden Gutshall, certainly another good German name!) didn’t pronounce the name correctly.
I explained what I knew of the early history of our name and that my great Uncle Percy, whom I spent a lot of time with as a youngster, told me that his father Hiram had pronounced the last syllable as BOOK (rhyming with took). But that “k” sound must have been lost during the early 1900s.
Was it due to lazy speech? We’ll never know. But, from the year 1978 on, I made sure to pronounce our last name with that guttural “k” sound. It is now ingrained in me and my children. I believe we are one of the few families that pronounce it that way; my brothers, sister, cousins, nephews, and nieces still all pronouncing the last syllable as BOO.
Along with the BOO syllable, I have also heard other branches of our family pronounce the last syllable as BAW (rhyming with law), BUCK, BUKE (as in puke), and BAWK (as in hawk). This led to the change in spelling that we find in some of our branches of the family.
Most notably, a small branch living in California spell the name Hagenbaugh. Our mid-west cousins spell the name Hagenbuch but put the BAW sound at the end. Our cousins from the Carlisle, PA area put the BUKE sound at the end.
Incidentally, an early branch of the family spelled the name Hagenbach, which not only changes the pronunciation but the meaning (BUCH in the German for our name is derived from the “beech tree”. BACH in means “brook”).
I’m sure all of you who share our wonderful last name (or married into it, or have association with it, or have family alliances with Hagenbuchs) have humorous stories of spellings and pronunciations. I have heard Hagenbush, Hagenbuck, Hackenbutch, and even Hattenduck (from the IRS years ago!).
The one that aggravates me the most is from right here in the Dillsburg area. I came to Dillsburg in 1987 and was employed as an elementary principal. I retired from that position 6 years ago, but I have kept very active in community affairs. Many people know me from the schools and the many organizations that I belong to.
Somewhere along the line, the locals began pronouncing my name as Hagenbooth. BOOTH! I will even write it for people and give them a phonics lesson: “CH is pronounced soft and hard. I have the hard “k” sound. It’s Germanic. CH does NOT make a TH sound. I am NOT a telephone booth!”
Whichever way you pronounce it, the spelling is most important. We know that our ancestor, Andreas Hagenbuch, spelled his name HAGENBUCH from the oath he signed after leaving the ship in 1737 in Philadelphia. We can be very proud that we have kept that same spelling all these years. As for me, I will continue to put that “k” sound at the end when I say my name, and I will ask people to honor that pronunciation.
And, by the way, the reference to the Marx Brothers in the first image comes from their movie A Day at the Races where Groucho’s character is Dr. Hackenbush. In the recesses of my memory, I know I read somewhere that Groucho knew about the Hagenbuch family who lived in the Los Angeles area in the 1930s. He named his character in the movie Hackenbush for that reason. Even Hollywood couldn’t get our name right!
How do you pronounce our unique name? Let us know.
My family is one of those who have, for some awkward reason, have pronounced our name “HAY – GEN – BAW”. I don’t know why. Like you, I also learned the proper pronunciation when I took German in high school. My father shortened it to just “HAY – GEN” only for work. My uncle changed the spelling of his name to “HAGENBAUGH”. This angered my grandfather (his father) so much that they never spoke again. My grandparents were James William and Claire (Cliss) Hagenbuch. My uncle was James (Jimmy) Hagenbuch – not a junior. My father was named Robert (NMI) Hagenbuch. My uncle had two girls = Joyce and Vicki. My parents – Robert (Bob) and Betty – had two sons = Robert Lawrence (Larry) and myself, Michael Lee. My father died in August 2010, age 91; my brother died in March 2011, age 65; and my mother died on September 20th of this year, age 93. My brother leaves behind a wife, Donna Kay; and one son, Zachary Ryne Hagenbuch, age 30. I am not married (age 63) and have no children that I am aware of. It was really great to see a relative reach out. I hope others might join in. Who knows? We might be spread all over the country — or even the world !!! Oh, I live in Southern California (Arcadia). My grandparents came to California from Illinois, and lived in Glendale. My uncle Jimmy and his family lived in Washington state. We were not close.
My best to all the Hagenbuch’s out there, no matter how you spell or pronounce our unique last name.
All hail to US !!!
Working on your family line….will email you personally. Mark
Michael -I live in Cathedral City, CA. Do you ever get to the Palm Springs area? Maybe we can meet sometime.
I ‘m Barry Hagenbuch living in Cathedral City, CA. I moved here from Pennsylvania in 2001. When people ask how to pronounce my name, I usually say, Barry -it’s easier. I think I’m seventh generation from Andreas. My great-grandfather lived in Easton and then moved to Nazareth, PA. He was Peter Hagenbuch. Thank you Mark for keeping us posted. Since Arcadia isn’t too far away, maybe we can get together sometime.
Barry….sorry I didn’t answer sooner. Use my personal email and send me your line of descent from Andreas, or at least some info on your Peter so I can locate you in my records. Keep in touch. Mark
I’ve been practicing to get this right Cousin…but as dad would always say,
“I don’t care what you call me, just don’t call me late for dinner”! Great article by the way…
Born & raised in Logan County, IL Descended from Amos, who came to Illinois from PA around 1855. I still have family in IL although I do not live there any more. I have done quite a lot of genealogy on the family, mostly military. Any questions I might help on, please contact me. By the way, we use the -BAW pronunciation.
Edward: I sent you a personal email. Hope you have read the installments we have published on Enoch Hagenbuch’s history. I sent you some questions regarding Andreas and his 4 sons’ military service.
Just came across this wonderful website! I am from Montour Co. PA and from the group that pronounces the name “hag-en-boo”. My grandfather was Norman Hagenbuch and my father Edward, both deceased. I now live in Vermont and believe I may be one of the only Hagenbuch’s in the state (anyone correct me if I am wrong). It’s been fun to see how more and more people are becoming familiar with our name, especially at my son’s elementary school.
I am Adria Hagenbuch. We pronounce our name Hagen bu. Our Families are from the very same.
Saw this interesting website. I am a direct descendant of Andreas Hagenbuch as follows:
Andreas Hagenbuch (New Albany Township, Berks County, PA)
Christian Hagenbuch (Columbia Co. PA)
John Hagenbuch (Columbia Co., PA)
Robert Hagenbuch (Bloomsburg, PA)
Benjamin D.F. Hagenbuch (Bloomsburg, PA)
Robert Delroy Hagenbuch (Bloomsburg, PA, died in Shenandoah, PA)
Jennie Hagenbuch Carl (Shenandoah, PA)
Robert Delroy Carl, M.D. (Shenandoah, PA)
Robert Delroy Carl, Jr. (Shenandoah, PA, died in Lancaster, PA)
Robert Delroy Carl, III, (Lancaster, PA, living in Marietta, GA)
So, I am 9 generations from our common ancestor Andreas Hagenbuch. Please put me in your database of Hagenbuch descendants. My great grandmother Jennie Hagenbuch Carl was a DAR member and had a family Bible listing my Hagenbuch ancestors from which this list is compiled. I think it is pretty accurate. I am proud to be a member of the extended Hagenbuch family.
Your distant cousin,
Hello Cousins from Northern California-! As a proud descendent of my grandfather James William Hagenbaugh who changed the spelling from Hagenbuch during WWII. He changed it so if captured he wouldn’t be killed as a German fighting for the Allies. He was a commander of a B17 fighting squadron. I did my best to follow in his footsteps by serving in the United States Marine Corps. My wife Rachel and I live in Tracy CA along with my sister Tammy Slabaugh and husband Eric. My Father Steve Hagenbaugh and wife Diana live in Redding CA and my uncle Mark Hagenbaugh and Aunt Dana live in Bend Oregon. We are very excited to have found this page.
Hi Craig. Great to hear from you, and that’s a terrific story! I will send you a personal message to discuss your line.
My line is Andreas to Henry to Joseph to Charles Hagenbuch. At that point the spelling was changed to Hagenbuck and is pronounced Hagenbuck with buck like a deer.
You sound it out as I would. My ancestors originated in Spock (umlat o), Germany and over there the name is spelled Pfattheicher. Over here Potteiger or Pottieger if you are the ‘correct English’ branch. I was born in Harrisburg at the old Keystone Hospital and raised in Penbrook. My wife has relatives in Dillsburg – Freeburn. Her late brothers Robert and Maynard lived there as does some of their children today. I found your article interesting. I was looking for the ‘state’ of Pennsylvania in 1737 when my ancestor arrived in Philadelphia 5 October 1737 on the Billander Townsend, In 1999 I met two ninth cousins, Ludwig and Werner, in Blackenlock, Germany near Karlsruhe. They use the old German spelling. We had a German exchange student in 1984/85 and he arranged the meetings for me. We also viewed the original church records dating back to 1601 with my ancestor’s name in it. I’ve been fortunate to visit Germany five times, the latest in September 2010. I love it!
I attended Warrior Run High School near Turbotville, PA. I remember people pronouncing the name, “Ha-gen-boo.” (Hagen rhyming with wagon)
Great article and comments.
We have always pronounced it Hagenboo. My family lives in Michigan.
Our Grandfather Charles Hagenbuch came from Pennsylvania to Detroit to
work as a tool&dye maker in the auto industry. He then moved north and settled in
But like many the name got hammered over the years. My Dad Ken Hagenbuch
and my brothers always had the nickname – Buck!
I used to say Hagenbunch when I was like 7. Of course a little later I learned how to pronounce it right
My mother & her 7 sisters & 3 brothers children of Charles & Lillian (Bason) Hagenbuch, all pronounced their last name with a ‘Boo’ at the end. I like the true German pronunciation!
On the Charming Nancy post, you wrote that Andreas Hagenbuch left from a town north of Stuttgart which is present day Swabia. There is a Hagenbuch in Swabian, Bavaria which I have not been to, but, I have been to Hagenbuch in Switzerland. If the family is Lutheran, and there was no Germany or Switzerland in 1737, why do you say the name is of Swiss origin?