The historic region of Austria is the birthplace of the esteemed surname Albrecht. The name is derived from “Albrecht,” a personal name of Teutonic origin, popular in various forms throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, meaning “illustrious.” The surname was most likely first borne by the son of one called Albrecht.
Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Albrecht include Albrecht, Albrech, Allbrecht, Albrechs, Adalbert, Albert and many more.First found in Austria, where the name emerged in mediaeval times as one of the notable families of the region.
From the 13th century the surname was identified with the great social and economic evolution which made this territory a landmark contributor to the development of the nation. The name was especially common throughout the Middle Ages owing to the fame of the holy Adalbert of Prague, the archbishop who was martyred in 997 while converting the tribes of Prussia. Albrecht I (1255-1308) was the King of Germany from 1298 to 1308. Albrecht II (1397-1439), son of Duke Albrecht IV of Austria, was elected German King in 1438, returning the house of Habsburg to the imperial throne after a lapse of 132 years. Albrecht III “the pious” (1401-60) was the much-loved Duke of Bavaria, as was his son, Duke Albrecht IV “the wise.” These kings and dukes contributed to the popularity of the name.
Austria was made a republic after the First World War. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up by the Treaty of Versailles and many of its people found themselves in the new nation of Czechoslovakia. Many other Austrians and expatriate Austrians made their way to North America in the 20th century. Most landed in Philadelphia, later continuing on to the states of Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Some Austrian settlers also went to western Canada and Ontario. Research into the Origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Albrecht or a variant listed above: Barbara Albrecht, who settled in Philadelphia in 1732; Gerich Albrecht, who took an oath of allegiance in Pennsylvania in 1732; Andreas Albrecht, a Hessian mercenary who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia after fighting in the American revolution, Christian Albrecht and his family, who emigrated from Kaiserslautern to New York in 1836.