This enobled surname, the Comtes de Glattbach being recorded in Riestapps Heraldic Register relative to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is of medieval German origins. As a surname it is recorded in the spellings of Glabach, Gladbach, Von Gladbach,Gladbeck,Gladtbach, Glattbach, and Gladebeck. All are locational surnames, and sometimes their spellings overlap within the same family, an indication of the level of education even amongst the more wealthy families prior to the 19th century. The two elements making up the surname are the ancient word "bach" meaning brook or stream, plus "glad", a swamp or "glatt", smooth, as in the transferred sense of slow moving water. There are various places so named, and the original nameholders could have come from any one of them, although the surname seems to be most popular in the province of Rheinland. Interestingly although the coat of arms for the Comtes de Glattbach was granted in Austria, the surname is rarely recorded in that country, or at least not in the church registers to which we have had access. The surname is one of the earliest recorded in Germany as shown below, and examples of the surname recordings taken from authentic charters of the period include Severus Von Gladbach, a witness at Dusseldorf, on November 22nd 1632, Servatius Gladtbach, married at Moselkern, Rheinland, on July 22nd 1663, and Margareta Glattbach, of Mosbach, Baden, recorded there on September 29th 1778. The earliest known example in any spelling is probably that of Hermann von Gladebeck of Recklinghausen, in the charters of the city of Gladbach, Rheinland, in the year 1392.
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