The German surname Imhof or Imhoff is local in origin, that is, it is derived from a particular geographical feature, either man made or natural, near which the original once lived or held land. In this instance, the name is a contraction of "in dem Hof, im Hof", a derivative of the Old High German "hof" which originally denoted "settlement, court and in time also farm". Thus, the name indicates "one who lived in a court or settlement or at a particular farmstead". Similar surnames include Imfeld, Imgarten, Imhausen, Imstad, Imwald and Imland.
One of the earliest records of this surname or a variant dates back to the thirteenth century when one Ulrich im Hove appears in records relatings to Constance in 1258.One Martin Imhof was a counsellor of Cologne in 1507 and Peter Imhof is mentioned as a counsellor of the same city in 1520. Melchior Imhof appears in records relating in Duren in 1584 and George Imhof was ennobled by King Karl V in October of 1529.
Imhof was the name of an old and noble family from Swabia which also had branches in Nuremberg. According to family tradition, the progenitor of this family was one Heinrich im Hoff who supposedly lived in Nuremberg in 969. However, it is more likely that the first member of this family was one Hans im Hoff whose marriage to Anna von Gundelfingen is registered in 1331.
The death of one Peter Imhoff is on record in the same year. German settlers introduced this surname to the U.S. at an early date and the "Passenger and Immigrations List Index" record that one Heinrich Imhof arrived in America in 1771. One Fridlin Imhof appears in the same records and Chn. Imhof, age 25, arrived in New York in 1854. In 1880 Michael Imhof settled in St. Clair County, Illinois.
Blazon of arms: Gules, a sea-lion rampant or, tail embowed in chief.
Translation: Gules (red) symbolizes Military Fortitude and Magnanimity.
Crest: the sea-lion of the arms issuing.
Source: The Historical Research Center.
Supplied by: Instituto Heráldico Americano.