I am searching for Joseph/Josef Greiner (my 4th great grandfather and a glass maker from the German Greiner line of glassmakers) and while doing so have gathered literally thousands of records which supposedly "link" all the Greiner glassmaking family back to about 1450. A lot of the records, however, present the Greiner name as a hyphenated one and no one can tell me why or where or how!!! Here is a copy of the email I have been sending out to various German genealogy societies and even the German "state" archives:
"I found extensive genealogy records which supposedly are the generations of Greiner glassmakers up to about 1870. Many of the surnames are hyphenated and I don't understand why.
Example: Johann Georg Greiner-Gobes married Anna Koch. They had 8 children. The first born (a son) was named Georg Greiner-Gobes-Sohn. The second child was named Johann Jakob Greiner-Schang. The remaining 6 (both sons and daughters) are listed as Greiner-Gobes.
Another example: Johann Nicolaus Jakob Greiner-Schang married Johanna Muller. They had 3 children; all sons. Each one is listed with a different surname: Greiner-Schang (the oldest), Greiner-Jean (the 2nd) and Greiner-Bandel (the youngest).
Do you know what the hyphenated name means or is used for or where it comes from? Why would it be different so many times in the same family? (I have had as many as 5 different hyphenated surnames in a single Greiner family with the same parents.) I see absolutely NO correlation to the mother's maiden name or even the maternal grandmother's maiden/married name. I am currently working in the 1450-1780 time range. Thanks so much for any assistance."
I heard back on a couple emails such as the one I sent to the German Genealogical Society and they have no clue; said they've never seen it done and cannot find it as such in records. I was hoping perhaps the hyphenated name was the glasshutte they worked for or the town where it was located but so far no link that way. Some of the more common hyphenated Greiner names are: Adam 24, Durr 86, Fuchs 81, Fuchsnikel 69, Gobes 44, Jobst 30, Matz 44, Schwarzer 44, Toffel 14, Tommelhans 17. The number behind the name indicates the number of records I have for that name.
The majority of the above are from the Miriam Zilli Grafer Index (she died several years ago) but I have found hyphenations in Dr. Rudi Greiner-Adam's books as well.