I. General

Our family surname obviously originated in the vicinity of the hamlet Hutstein in Upper Austria, close to the border to Bavaria, town Wegscheid. 

hamlet Hutstein

A ‘Hutstein’ or ‘Hutestein’  in former times had been a landmark for pasture areas. It is derived from the german words ‘hüten’ which means ‘to guard’. And ‘-stein’, in English ‘stone’ or ‘rock’.

But here we are not talking about small stones to show the pasture areas’ or region’s border, but natural monuments like large rocks or even hills which ‘guard’ the surrounding region or have been land and border marks.

Another important root: “Huthe”, likely a word of the old bavarian language (old central bavarian language spoken in south Bavaria and most parts of Austria before the 1400s), does mean “stony field”, which would fit with the fields of the Hutstein hamlet in Austria, where a lot of stones can be found. But this word should be much older as the Hutstein hamlet, which was founded only after the year 1488, so likely this does not apply here, especially as we have the natural monument Hutstein close to the Hamlet.

our Hutstein rock

‘Hut’ does have also the meaning ‘hat’, so any rock which seemed to have a ‘hat’ on could have become a ‘Hutstein’,  translated as ‘hat-stone’, too, which likely does not apply here either.

So, people settling close to such a ‘Hutstein’ eventually had been called ‘Hutsteiner’. This can been seen very clearly for the Hutsteiner families in Bavaria/Austria as the small hamlet of ‘Hutstein’ is  still existing close to this ‘Hutstein’ rock hidden in the forest nearby. It is necessary to mention that not at all known ‘Hutstein’ locations in Germany generated the surname ‘Hutsteiner’, i.e. there are much more ‘Hutstein’-rocks existing but obviously only one location where our surname popped up: in Bavaria/Austria region.

Hutstein – small artificial border mark stone
Hutstein – natural monument close to Haugschlag, Austria

 

As the Hutstein region in Bavaria/Austria has been a border region for long time (i.e. former border between the territory of Passau and the dominions of Rannariedl and Falkenstein) at that time and nowadays, the name likely is derived from a border mark, the Hutstein, which is only 300 m in distance from the border defined by the Osterbach creek.

Furthermore, there are two very well known major ‘Hutstein’- hills/rocks, but nearby I could not find any ‘Hutsteiner’ surname popping up in old documents: 

  • close to city of Glatz, now Klodzko (Poland)
  • close to Haugschlag, Austria, at the Czech border.

All occurrences of our family name in US, UK, France, Netherlands, Australia… are descendants of the mentioned three major family lines.

Beside these, there are also two jewish lines of Hutsteins coming from Kolomea, Ukraine, and Suwalki, Poland, but I assume that transliteration issues are responsible for our surname there, i.e. a Cyrillic name ‘Gutstein’ or ‘Ghutsztejn’, a quite common jewish name, became in western world ‘Hutstein’. A origin of these jewish families could not be found until now.

As mentioned above in English ‘Hutstein’ could be translated as ‘Hat-stone’, the pronounciation is like ‘Hood:stine’ resp. ‘Hood:stiner’.

Due to pronounciation some immigrants to the US obviously changed their names to ‘Hootstein’, ‘Hootstine’ and ‘Hutstine’ to adopt to English language.

But there is also existing the german surname ‘Hatstein’ resp. ‘Hatsteiner’ which would fit to the English pronounciation ‘Hut:stine’ resp. ‘Hut:stiner’, but is not related to our families at all.

Hutstein, Huthstein, Huthstain, Huthsteiner, Hutsteiner, Huttsteiner… and some more variations were treated in the past as identical. Therefore the same person once was called ‘Hutsteiner’ while in another document he/she appeared as ‘Hutstein’. This happened in all three major families. 

Very often I observed type mismatches especially with Hulstein, Holstein, Utstein, Gutstein, Hertstein, Hatstein and some others.

Also it happens that people not used to the name Hutstein are mixing it up with ‘HuFstein’. Don’t know why, because existence  of surname ‘Hufstein’ is extremely rare, but it happened quite often to me and my relatives.

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