Another famous-based surname question... By the way... Do the surnames discussed in this message board ever get into the official list shown in the main page?
Tags:  Eiffel
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It comes from the name of a german region in Rheinland-Pfalz "EIFEL", in fact it is a sort of mountainous area.
The real name of Gustave Eiffel was Boekhausen: his family changed the surname at the beginning of 18th century.

see the french site www.jtosti.com/noms

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Translation of Sagani's site:

This universally famous name is in fact a nickname, carried in the family of Gustave Eiffel since the beginning of the XVIII century and undoubtedly returning with Eifel, wooded solid mass of Germany (the Rhineland-Palatinat). The true name of this family is Boenickhausen (or Bonickausen), toponym which could correspond to the commune of Bönninghausen (theRhineland of North-Westphalia).
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However it's not clear their actual meaning (now both of Eifel and Boenickhausen; althought "hausen" is something like "house" isn't it?) But this is quite a lot on it's history... Thanks to both... Bye
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The etymology of "Eifel" is uncertain. The most probable meaning is: "plateau of oaks". Eifella would then be an assimilated form of *Aik-fil. EIH is Old High German for "oak" (Germanic AIK), and FILLE (from Indoeuropean "pela", wide and flat) was the name of the fairly flat mountain ridge west of Cologne.

The original form of Beonickhausen seems to be Boennighausen. This probably used to be a place-name in Germany. All I could find is Boenhusen and Boehnighausen. They probably go back to the word "Bohne" (bean). "-hausen" indeed means "house".

(Most of this is taken from: Geographische Namen in Deutschland, Duden, 1999)

Andy ;—)
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Indeed thanks... I'm sad I can't help you as much as you help me yet I'm glad to find someone so deeply given to these pleasures of etymology (y)
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