Can we change Hapsburgs to Habsburg?

+13 votes
We currently have 13 profiles belonging to the Habsburg family with the LNAB Hapsburg. Since they were definitely German speaking and no German literature exists calling them "Hapsburg" this Anglophone naming convention should be abandoned in my opinion.

As an aside: does anybody know who started that Hapsburg business in the English literature?
in Policy and Style by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (615k points)

4 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer

I agree. Those profiles always bothered me. I will change the LNAB if needed. Let's say, I can do it asap if the EuroAristo project agrees to the LNAB changes.

by Maggie N. G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
selected by Helmut Jungschaffer

Go for it, Maggie!  And thanks!!

+8 votes

There, however, appears to be a lady in 1700's Philadelphia who has the last name of "Hapsberg" so I would just leave her as is.

by Maggie N. G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Agreed, there are also 2 in England in the 16th century (Hapsburg-2 and -58) I am not sure that they belong to the family.
One of these profiles comes with a claim that it represents "a member of the Habsburg dynasty" though with no source to back up the claim.
+7 votes

I don't think this would be a very controversial change.  There is certainly a recognition that the family name can be Hapsburg or Habsburg in English with Habsburg probably being the preferred name.  After all, if it is good enough for English wikipedia, it is good enough for me.  Heck, if I try to google "Hapsburg," google responds with "did you mean Habsburg."  In modern English, I think you could say that either spelling is correct with Habsburg actually being the more modern variant and Hapsburg being more archaic.

There are a fair number of articles online saying that Germans pronounce Habsburg with a 'p' sound instead of a 'b' so I say we blame the Germans for this one.  Interestingly, this article argues that the spelling with a p predates the spelling with a b in Germany.

by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (265k points)
But for long lasting surnames do we not have a policy of trying to find a stable modern spelling in the appropriate modern language? Obviously most aristocratic surnames have numerous spelling variants, so we need some kind of logical approach. On Wikipedia, there are different policies, which match the different subject matter, and also of course the fact that there are different Wikipedias for every language. So their first preference is always the most common name in the language of the specific Wikipedia (though as a back-up rule for less well-known names, or names with mulitple common forms, they have a rule more like the one I thought Wikitree had, of using the local language, see the debates there about Danzig/Gdansk).
I note that the link you cite contains a quotation from a current family member which asks English speakers to use the b variant. I suppose where a family still exists, their preferences are also relevant to these types of decisions?

Genesis of name usage and evolution really can vary. Some is attributable to whether things were written down versus passed down orally versus skill or biases of transcribers. Indications are that my surname has its roots in Föhn Foehn of the Marshy Bog Leewards, and some branches went through all sorts of iterative transformations such as Fane, Vane, de Vaux, de Vallibus, Fen, Fenn, Fanning and I am sure others "happened." Much of it was toponymic, so changes were affected by what land was owned or a persons role in society.

As genealogists, we love to preserve accurate history, so the question might be best answered by what was the intent of the name user during their cohort, versus what we need to preserve about and "neatly categorize" as a historic reference. Having said that, I'll present you with this weakly-sourced report from Wikipedia:

When were surnames first used?

In Britain, hereditary surnames were adopted in the 13th and 14th centuries, initially by the aristocracy but eventually by everyone.[citation needed] By 1400, most English and some Scottish people used surnames, but many Scottish and Welsh people did not adopt surnames until the 17th century, or even later.[citation needed] Henry VIII (1491–1547) ordered that marital births be recorded under the surname of the father.

I got House of Habsburg when I searched Hapsburg, too. 

In today's headline in America: "Mueller names 'Hapsburg group,' reveals Manafort messages"

Sometimes, we have ethnocentrism that gets in the way: I primarily like to speak and write Queenglish; unfortunately, I only have high level fluidity in one language. That definitely will be off-putting and frustrating to some, if not many. On the other hand, if you ever met me and spoke with me, my language is very much less restrictive and less pedantic, and hopefully as easy, if not easier to understand as my written words. 


de Vallibus is Latin for French Vaux but these do not have anything to do with fens. In Belgium there is a region of high fens called "Fagnes" in French. There happen to be several places called Vaux nearby. Vaux is a common French placename related to the English word valley, or more accurately "vales" (plural).

Quite a lot has been published about the Norman origins of the English Vaux family, if that is the one you are referring to. There was never an "n" (or "x") in the pronunciation as far as I can make out.

There are indeed lots of places called Vaux in France. Just have a look at the Wikipedia disambiguation page .... and that's not even taking in account the myriad hamlets and farms with that name. 

Ergo toponymics. Many are surprised to learn that that has much to do with the origins of "LNAB"/surnames.

What a wonderful world :)

In the probable origins of my last name Fann*, I would not be the least bit surprised if the ending consonants were silent. As used today, the two nns are pretty soft.

*Föhn *Foehn of the Marshy Bog Leewards / Fann Fann

One syllable names can literally come from any language, except in cases where the letter combinations are rare. This can make guessing easy, but actually finding and confirming the origins is often harder. You really need to be sure you have a document trail tracking each connection from generation to generation.

This article is put out by an organization that defines itself as follows (quote from their website):

The War for Christendom is a series of three books in the process of being written, as a fictionalized account of the prophesied Restoration of Christendom. This website also serves as the headquarters of the Hapsburg Restoration Movement.

The Hapsburg Restoration Movement* is the direct successor and revival of the Restoration Movement which began in 1923, as well as the indirect successor of the Zentralkomitee der Monarchistischen Bewegungen (Central Committee of Monarchist Movements) (1938-1944) and The Restoration Association (1945-1994). The Movement exists to restore the Catholic order of Christendom, and return the Holy Roman Emperor to his rightful place as the Temporal Head of Christendom. Those interested in officially joining the Movement can email me (the Knight Commander) through the contact page.

Unless somebody comes up with the documents using the names cited in the article I stand by the documents quoted in a previous comment using -v- and later -b-.

I'm not in anyway arguing for Hapsburg over Habsburg.  Quite the opposite, I think the change is appropriate.

Nor am I arguing that website has any real legitimacy which would make the p spelling preferred over the b spelling.  I just bumped into it and found it interesting that they were claiming ancient examples of the p spelling.  I have no idea as to its accuracy.

Habsburg is the preferred spelling in English or German, and modern or ancient profiles.

I'm the author of the article on that website, I found this discussion in the website's analytics.
I'm adding some citations to the article, although to go through every source would take me quite a while. The two most prominent I found which led me to write the article were the 
Annales Sancti Udalrici et Afræ Augustenses and the Monumenta Hohenbergica. You may in fact be right about the *v* being the oldest existing spelling and it certainly matches one of the versions of the origin of the surname. I certainly don't mean to claim that "Hapsburch" should replace "Habsburg" at all, simply that it was a legitimate historical usage. 

But I think no one denies that there are all sorts of historical variations.

ADDED LATER: The question of whether the mere existence historical variations are relevant to this type of discussion was in a sense the point of my initial response to Jo, which I think I did not make well. I think that we look for stable, widely accepted variants, and I think this means considering the wishes and habits of the people most associated with the name, and also the true origins (true origins always being something that is relevant to usage for many people such as historians etc). Just saying that a variant existed is not all that important.
About the pronunciation: The northern germans might pronounce it with a short 'a' (as in "mutt") and very Prussian :), which sounds a bit like "Hapsburgs" --- still not a proper 'p' sound, though. However, in the South, where these guys originated, it's "Habsburg" with a long 'ah' .
+2 votes
It's a toponymic for Hapsburg Castle.

From my other Wiki friend:
by Porter Fann G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
In other words, for some of the profiles, in fact the designation might be an indication that the person was "of Hapsburg Castle." Emphasis on some.
Again, this is an Anglicism, the first mention of the castle is in 1108 as Havichsberch, then in 1150 Havekhesperch, in 1213 Habisburch, in 1238/39 Habsburc, and finally Habsburg. No "p" anywhere.

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