The surname Ermatinger derives from the village of Ermatingen on the Swiss shore of Lake Constance. It simply means "from Ermatingen".
The surname Ermatinger can be reliable traced back through known family trees to the middle of the 16th century prior to the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War. Individuals with this surname predating these family trees are known but their connections to the family trees are not. Later branches of the original Ermatinger family adopted alternative spellings of the name such as Ermendinger
as well as the shortened adaptation to French in the form of Erman
in a particular Huguenotte branch of the family.
With stone age traces of Pfyn, Horgen and Corded Ware culture stilthouse shoreline settlements dating back to 4,000-3,000BCE the first official mention of the village of Ermatingen was long thought to have been in an official document from 724 (as Erfmotingas) when it was supposed to have been given as a gift to the monastery of Reichenau by Charles Martel (~680s-741), Frankish Mayor of the Palace under king Childeric III and de facto ruler of Francia. Unfortunately that document turned out to be a 13th century forgery designed to secure the rights of the monastery of Reichenau. It is however listed in other legitimate documents as Ermuotingen (1181), Ermotingen (1221), Ermatinga (1724) and also as Ermutingen.
The name appears to trace back to the 3rd century when Germanic settlers of the Alamanni managed to push the Roman presence out of the area. Location names ending in -ingen/inga are indicative of Alamanni origins. The name has been interpreted to mean "place where the farmsteads of Eburmuot's people are" (Nyffenegger/Bandler 2003). Elsewhere it has been interpreted to simply mean "farmstead of Ermuot" (History of Salenstein website).