Names of Origin as a Means to determine possible Regions of Immigration to Schwaz in late medieval and early modern Times - Chances and Limits
Family names derived from place names or regions constitute one of five possible categories within the German surname system, referring to the former geographical origin of those bearing the names. Thus, they may help to determine possible areas of origin of people migrating to the silver and copper mining area of Schwaz during the late medieval and early modern periods. For this purpose, the earliest quantitative sources for this region have been analysed: a tax list (1312), a list of subjects (1427), and several rent-rolls from the first half of the 16th century. Such an approach goes beyond the limits of an analysis which exclusively concentrates on the contents, since the origins of the persons registered are normally not documented in these sources. Therefore, an onomastic evaluation of the archival material indicated above seems more appropriate and more productive, although both the chances and the limits of such an approach have to be taken into account.