Recorded in many spellings including Steinham, Stienham, Steinhammer, Steinheim, Steinhammer, and compounds such as Steinherz, Steinhilber, Steinhorn and many others, this is a German surname of pre 7th century origins. It is residential and either describes a person who lived at a stone house, when such buildings were very rare, or somebody who came from a place called Steinheim in Northern Germany. Locational surnames wereamongst the first to be created since one of the easiest forms of identification was to call somebody either by the name of the place from whence they came assuming that they had moved, or from where they had always lived. Over the centuries spelling being at best indifferent and local dialects and accents very thick, often lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. This was particularly so in Germany which until the 19th century consisted of a mix of larger and small states who each developed their own language or at least dialect. These were so different that a person from the north spoke a language quite unfamilar to the south. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving charters and registers of Germany include Henrich Steinheim of Mainz in the year 1342, Hartmann Steinhammer of Leipheim in 1415, and Stephan Steinhorn of Brixen, in 1493.
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