Naive Guesses About The Origin Of Panholzer
I have always assumed that my name was not very common. I remember my father looking up the Vienna phonebook in 1960 and finding only a handful of Panholzers there. Today, one can find more than fifty. Most of the American Panholzers interviewed by phone had no inkling where their name really came from, and were curious to learn about its true origin. Many of them considered their name to be unique in North America. But well over forty Panholzers can be found living there today (as well as one Panholzer as far as Pohnpei, Micronesia!)
I attended the BEA Liebenau boarding school in Graz, Austria, where I was routinely called simply "Pan". My music teacher assured me that the name Panholzer derived from the Panflute .
PAN, the Greek god of the pasture-fields, herds and herdsmen, had fallen in love with a beautiful nymph called Syrinx, but she was transformed into a reed. Pan then cut and shaped the reed, and fashioned from it pipes that gave forth haunting and wonderful music. Both, nymphs and haunting music, are indeed present in my life.
My geography teacher opined that the name Panholzer came from a Mr Holzer (a common name in the Austrian monarchy which also comprised parts of Poland) moving to Poland where he would be greeted "Dzien Dobry (Good day) Pan Holzer" (Pan being a Polish form of address in combination with a name, ie "Herr Holzer").
The German language teacher finally suggested the real roots of the name: Panholz was a geographical place name: there are 18 places called Panholz or Bannholz in Austria, one in Liechtenstein, and (at least) three more in Southern Germany.