Westfall Family History & Genealogy

Updated Apr 16, 2015

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Westfall Surname History

Many Americans descended from Westfall ancestors can trace their linage to Jeuriach Bestvael van Leyderdorp (Jurien Westfall) who came to America probably as an indentured farmer from Holland in 1642.  He is listed as a passenger aboard the ship "De Houttuyn" whose passage was paid for by Killean van Renssellaer, a wealthy jeweler in Amsterdam.  Jurien apparently came to America from Leyderdorp, Holland; however, there is some question about his actual birthplace with some evidence that it may have been the region of Germany that is today Poland.  

There were people of several nationalities who came to the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (New York) but most became thoroughly Dutch by the second generation.  Their religion was Dutch Reform, their language primarily Dutch (although, German was also spoken) and their laws were the laws imposed by the church and the Dutch sponsors in Holland.  

Jurien married Mary Hansen probably about 1654 probably in the Esopus region (Kingston, NY).  As evidenced by the baptisms of their children in the Dutch church, and the names they gave them, the first few generations assimilated completely with the Dutch.   Esopus Indians apparently killed Jurien about 1669 as he was leading a party of soldiers to their village.  Mary remarried soon after.

About 1700 the children and grandchildren of Jurien Westfall removed from the Hudson River to the banks of the Delaware River.  They purchased their land from the Minisee Indians (who later became known simply as Delaware Indians), whose tribe lived on the west bank of the Delaware.  At the time, there was no clear definition of the border between the colony of New York and the colony of New Jersey.  Some Westfall families lived in today's Orange County, New York while others moved further south into today's Sussex County, New Jersey.  This area was known as the Minisink Valley (named after the Indian tribe).  Westfall families lived in this region for generations, many of them eventually moving into Pennsylvania, Ohio and regions further west.  Westfall descendants are still found in New York and New Jersey.

Before the French and Indian War, Abel Westfall and his nephew Jacob Westfall removed to the Northern Neck of Virginia and settled on the Great South Branch of the Potomac River.  Accompanying them were relatives with surnames such as Kortrecht (Cartwright and Cutright), Kuykendal, and Decker. Their lands would be near today's Morefield, Hardy County, West Virginia.  Abel's son Cornelius Westfall came to Virginia some twenty years later.  A young George Washington surveyed their tracts of land for Governor Lord Fairfax in the late 1740's or early 1750's.  He complained in his journal about the unruly nature of the Dutch children who did not speak English and kept interfering with his work.

Eventually, the area where the Westfall and related families first settled became Hardy County, West Virginia.  From there, they moved into Randolph, Lewis, Upshur and other counties of today's West Virginia.  Many of their descendants are still in these counties.  By the time of the American Revolution, some Westfall families removed to Kentucky, then Ohio and Indiana.  Today, descendants are in every state of the United States.



The Westfall surname derives from the Westphalen region of western Germany along the Rhine  River.  People of that surname removed from there to many other regions, including today's Poland, Sweden, Holland and eventually America.  Our Westfall ancestor, Jurien Westfall came to New Amsterdam (New York) in 1642.  Many of that family name remained in the New York, northern New Jersey for generations.  Others removed to the frontier of Virginia and settled along the South Branch of The Potomac in the Northern Neck of Virginia, which eventually became Augusta County, Va. and eventually, Hardy County, West Virginia.  Today, the Westfall's and their descendants are in every corner of the United States.  Most who spell the name as "Westfall" are descended from Jurien and Mary (Hansen) Westfall.


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Westfall Country of Origin, Nationality, & Ethnicity

As stated above, our Westfall ancestor came to New Amsterdam (New York) from Leyderdorp, Holland.  He may have actually been born in Poland, although that has not been determined with any degree of certainty.  It seems obvious that the Westfall's originated in the Westphalen region of today's western Germany, adjacent to Holland. Ethnicly, the Westfalls would probably be considered German or Dutch.  It is certain that they were Germanic people who originated in the valley of the Rhine River.

Westfall Meaning & Etymology

The Westfall surname is derived from the Westphalen province of western Germany.

Westfall Life Expectancy

According to our database of 5,145 people with the last name Westfall that have a birth and death date listed:

Life Expectancy


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Most Common Westfall First Names

According to our database of 7,380 people with the last name Westfall that have a first name listed, these are the most common first names:

  • John 2.6%
  • William 2.6%
  • James 2.1%
  • Charles 1.9%
  • Robert 1.8%
  • Mary 1.6%
  • George 1.4%
  • Richard 0.9%
  • Donald 0.9%
  • Margaret 0.8%
  • Harry 0.8%
  • Edward 0.7%
  • Helen 0.7%
  • Henry 0.7%
  • Dorothy 0.6%
  • Earl 0.6%
  • Harold 0.6%
  • Ruth 0.6%
  • Thomas 0.6%
  • Elizabeth 0.6%
  • Frank 0.6%
  • Raymond 0.6%
  • Carl 0.6%
  • Paul 0.6%
  • David 0.6%
  • Clarence 0.5%
  • Albert 0.5%
  • Arthur 0.5%
  • Walter 0.5%
  • Betty 0.5%
  • Ethel 0.5%
  • Mildred 0.5%
  • Ralph 0.4%
  • Fred 0.4%
  • Michael 0.4%
  • Patricia 0.4%
  • Kenneth 0.4%
  • Howard 0.4%
  • Clyde 0.4%
  • Alice 0.4%
  • Russell 0.4%
  • Virginia 0.4%
  • Martha 0.3%
  • Anna 0.3%
  • Grace 0.3%
  • Jacob 0.3%
  • Edith 0.3%
  • Edna 0.3%
  • Roy 0.3%
  • Herman 0.3%

Westfall Pronunciation & Spelling Variations

The name Westfall was derived from the Westphalen area of Germany.  The most common form other than Westfall is Westphal.  there are probably several other variations of the name.

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