The Panholzers of North America For many Panholzers, the province of Upper Austria very soon became too small. So they migrated to the big cities, first Linz, then Vienna, Munich and Graz. Education was one reason, job opportunity another. Economic reasons may account for the urge to look even further - to America.

The U.S. census of 1960 indicated that America had over a million residents of Austrian stock. Of those, more than 300,000 were foreign born. While in 1870 only an estimated 30,000 Austrian-born could be found in America, this number had increased to 180,000 by 1900 and twice that amount ten years later. Yet World War I was to shut off the stream of immigrants from Austria for years to come, and it turns out that most of the Panholzers living in America today are descendants of either Joseph or Alois Panholzer who arrived just before the start of the First World War. Joseph and his brother came from Vienna, Alois and his brother hailed from Uhrfahr / Linz. Joseph and Alois were not related, but each of them had followed their older brother, neither of whose names we know, and both of whom(!) committed suicide. But it is here where the similarities stop. (comment on the American public demonstrations against Austrian immigrants)

Whereas Alois' family line is a simple stream of single-child male descendants and therefore easy to follow, Joseph had 11 children, some of whom in turn produced just as many again. Alois' modest number of family members can be found today in California and Iowa, whereas Joseph's descendants are almost exclusively to be found in Maryland. Because they are so many and in some cases ended up as foster children, they hardly know each other. Their rare encounters consist of fleeting meetings at funerals. Many of their children today are keen to find out more about their roots.

Alois had several brothers who stayed back in Austria, one of whom was called Ignaz. My grandfather's name was Alois, and my great-grandfather's name was Ignaz as well. There is too big a gap in generation to match them up, but as these names - in combination - are not very common, it is likely that one Ignaz was the nephew of the other (mine), since it was common practice to appoint the uncle as godfather and therefore also as provider of the first name. If this proves to be a true assumption (and only church records in Austria can provide more clues), then this research will not only have served to entertain the American Panholzers in general, but I will also have found an unknown family member, a distant cousin.

Forty years after the first Panholzer immigrants arrived, another "wave" hit North America in the mid 50s.
Rudolf Panholzer (Professor and Chairman, Space Systems Academic Group, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA), hailing from Graz (the town of my high school years, and Rudolf being the same name as my father's) arrived in California, where he and his Swiss wife Olga had four children, Gaudenz, Dominic, ????? and Veronika.
Another team, John and his cousin Joseph arrived from Hungary (the parents came from Odenwald in Germany). John settled in Ontario, Canada, where his sister Elisabeth also was to join him shortly after; Joseph settled in Virginia and has three sons.

At roughly the same time my elder sister Liselotte immigrated to Toronto, Canada, enticing my other sister Helga and myself to follow eventually. I first arrived in Toronto 1961 and "landed" offcially in Canada in 1971. Having become a Canadian citizen in 1978, I have since lived in Switzerland, England and Monaco. My son Richard (a Canadian citizen) recently moved from Vancouver back to Europe, where he is employed in Computer Animation. His first professional movie assignment was for Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks "The Road to Eldorado". After working at Yager Berlin, he currently he works with Sandbox Interactive Berlin, a leading edge developer of electronic entertainment software. My daughter Lillian was a born in Canada as well and holds both, Canadian and Austrian citizenships. Having graduated from the American International School in Vienna, Lilly's first language is still English. She has additionally passed the Austrian Matura in order to be allowed to study architecture in Vienna. After two years of studying architecture in Vienna, Lilly moved to Barcelona where she obtained her university degree in "Industrial Design" in 2003. She no lives and works in Vienna at her independet graphic design studio, for publishing and advertising design firms. She speaks English, German, Spanish and Catalan.

North American Panholzers have found it hard to cope with the ridiculous pronunciations of their name by people who have no knowledge of German. They find their name invariably pronounced wrongly such as "Panzholder" or "Pants-Holder" (!) or Panhauser or even Pan Wholesale. The best one can do, when introducing oneself, or when pronouncing the name over the phone, is to OVER-emphasize the pronounciation of the "z" as a sharp "TZ, and repeat the name at least once.

As the Panholzer community in Austria has mushroomed to well over 400 households, we can safely assume that there will be further migrations of Panholzers to America in the future..

Naive Guesses Real Roots Of The Name Panholz Place Names Meaning of PANHOLZ History of Bannwald
Linguistic Roots Of The Name First Mention Of A Place The Panholzers Of America The Panholzers Of Austria The Home Page Of Peter Panholzer
Map Of PANHOLZ Place Names Related Spellings The Bairisch Language The Importance of Bann Pan Mail
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