The distinguished surname Herrmann is of very ancient German origin. It is derived from a Germanic personal name made up of the elements "heri," meaning "army," and "man," meaning "man." Herrmann can be traced back to Brandenburg, the birthplace of modern Germany. Historically known as Brandenburg-Prussia, this region was first named Brandenburg, after the Slavic chieftain seat of Brendaburg. Brendenburg eventually expanded to incorporate the Rhineland, Westphalia, Hannover, parts of Saxony, Pomerania, Silesia, and Hessen. The Germanic Semnonen tribe lived here, then the Slavic tribe of the Heveler, who held this territory until the arrival of the Christian Saxons.
Bearers of the family name Herrmann were found in Prussia, where the name emerged in medieval 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.
Albrecht the Bear, margrave in 1184, battled the Slavic tribe of the Wenden as he drove eastwards, naming the conquered territories Brandenburg. In 1323, members of the Bavarian ducal house became rulers of this area until they were replaced by the Emperor with the Hohenzollerns, a great ruling dynasty, who made Berlin their capital in 1486 and introduced the Reformation in 1539. The Hohenzollerns continued their extensive program of expansion by gaining possession of East Prussia and West Prussia, as well as the duchy of Cleve on the Rhine. In 1701, Frederick I crowned himself King of Prussia in the East Prussian capital of Koenigsberg, naming his entire country Prussia, after the Baltic Prussen, former inhabitants of the land.
During this period of change, the family name Herrmann moved to Prussia, which was established as the primary origin of the family name. Several members of the family were raised to the nobility; in Prussia, they were made cavaliers in 1828, and in Dresden they were made cavaliers in 1842. In Austria, two important branches were Herman and Wain. In Transylvania they were Barons in 1769. In Saxony they were seated at Mondthal and Nerov. Their main seat became Hermannsdorf in Austria where they were cavaliers in 1612, 1719, 1727, and 1786. The name flourished in this region for several centuries throughout the early Middle Ages. Later, from the mid 16th century, the family name migrated to other parts of the continent as family members pursued their varied interests in the military, the religious milieu, or in politics. Through planned marriages, which were an advantage both socially and economically, they intermarried with many distinguished families. Notable figures with the Herrmann at this time were the Herman family of Prussia.
Prussia gained strength as its rulers promoted settlement of agricultural and industrial regions by skilled workers and craftsmen. Prussia became a haven for political and religious refugees, including Salzburg Protestants fleeing from Catholic Austria, not to mention the French Huguenots. The greatest King was Frederick II, whose reform of the civil service, the cultivation of the land, and encouragement of the industrial development made Prussia the unifying force behind the German empire. The Prussian army became the most feared and respected military force in Europe.
Frederick’s successors were defeated by Napoleon, and Prussia was divided in half. However, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 gave the rich territories of the Rhineland and of Westphalia to Prussia. The resurgence of Prussian strength was due to Bismarck, "the Iron Chancellor," who defeated Austria and Denmark. By 1871, Germany was united under Prussian power in the France-Prussian War. In 1919, Prussia became a state of the new Weimar Republic, only to be incorporated into the German Democratic Republic in 1952, after giving its land east of the Oder river to Poland.
Throughout the centuries, many people migrated to other parts of Germany, as well as to North America. This flow of migration to the New World began around 1650, and continued well into the 20th century. Pockets of German settlements include, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, California, and Ohio. In Canada, German settlements centered around Ontario and the Prairies. Settlers bearing the family name Herrmann include Heinrich Hermann, who emigrated from Alsace to Pennsylvania in 1750; Christian Herman, who settled in Philadelphia in 1752; Andrew Herman, who immigrated to Charleston, South Carolina in 1767; Charles Herman, who was naturalized in Philadelphia in 1844; Anna Harmsen, who sailed from Bremen to New York in 1851; and Wilhelm Hermann, who arrived in Baltimore in 1874.
After initially settling in New York and Pennsylvania, many German immigrants moved west and worked in skilled occupations and in agriculture. Some newer settlers came directly to Texas and the Midwest.
In our modern period, many members of the surname Herrmann achieved prominence, such as: Woodrow Charles "Woody" Herman (1913-1987), a well-known jazz clarinetist and singer; Jerry Herman (b.1933), the famous composer, lyricist, and director whose best-known musicals include "Hello, Dolly!" and "La Cage aux Folles."
The fore bearers of G.H.Herrmann can be tracked back to Ishengastadt, Germany just South of Brandenburg on George H. Herrman’s great Grandfather. His Great Grandmother was born in Dusseldorf, Germany. George H. Herrmann Sr. And his wife Dorothy Decker immigrated in the late 1800’s. George John Herrmann was born in Indianapolis and his son, George H. Herrmann founded the funeral home in 1926. Georges first building was just up the street from the current funeral home. It was nothing more than a storefront that he shared with Ray Brother Cleaners. At that time funerals were still conducted in the families' homes. All he needed was a storage place for all the funeral equipment. Between the business was a ledge with one phone the George and Ray brothers shared. It was only a year later that he was able to purchase a home across the street and started having funerals there as the times were changing. Over the next couple years he was able to purchase the surrounding homes and the little one house funeral home turned into a 5 house funeral home all interconnected. Even today on East Street, the fake faces of the homes still look livable although they were just fronts for the business behind. As his business grew the Herrmann family planned on expanding south. The family home was a large white house at 5141 Madison Avenue. When the decision was made, G.Robert Herrmann and his father George moved the family home to the back north east corner of the property and the first building designed for the purpose of conducting funerals was built in 1964. As the demand for the Herrmann’s true service they purchased roughly 40 acres on South Meridian Street in Greenwood. Later, Jeff N. Herrmann and his father began construction on another funeral home in Greenwood. Constructed in 1990, it has become the premier funeral home in Greenwood. The Herrmann legacy continued and has grown to be the largest family owned funeral home in Greenwood. When the funeral home was built, only the finest carpets, chandeliers, and furniture were used in the same fashion as when East Street and Madison Avenue were built. At this time many "fly by nighters" built cheap and cold funeral homes but none could compete with the "Herrmann Tradition."
The legacy continues to this day. Jeff N. Herrmann and his father designed the most unique cemetery to ever be built. With a mausoleum built of all Indiana materials, Bedford limestone, brick from Seymour, and local construction teams, we were pleased to open The Gardens at Olive Branch Cemetery in the spring of 2010. The cemetery has exceeded the family’s expectation with its beautiful flowing gardens and private estates.
Family Motto: Strength with Humility