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Finally a website dedicated to the research of the family name Zorn. We have gathered information on this intriguing family name during a time span of several years. It should also be noted that the work of this website would have been impossible to accomplish without the help of several previous researchers, and a special "thank you" goes to Mr. Eberhard Zorn who wrote the book "The Zorn families in German speaking countries and abroad" in the 70´s.

Our current theme of research is the Zorn Vault in the church Saint Pierre La Jeune which contains old remnants of early Zorn family members, including, tombs, family crests etc.

As always remember that you can help to develop this website further with comments and suggestions!!!


NEW June 2009!!! A burial monument of Hugo Zorn von Bulach from 1321, is exhibited at the Musée de l'oeuvre Notre Dame in Strasbourg.
Zorn Burial Monument

NEW June 2009!!! Now you can see the family crest of the Zorn von Bulach in color.
Zorn Family Crest in color

NEW June 2009!!! A DNA test comparison has revealed a match to the family names Friedrich and Rotchild. Zorn DNA match

Zorn History

The origin of the family name Zorn has for a long time puzzled the people who shares this family name. It is today practically impossible to determine if all of the members of the Zorn family have the same ancestors. Todays stronghold of the family name Zorn in Germany includes Würzburg, Pforzheim, Weimar and Rhein-Lahn-Kreis.  The earliest recordings comes however from Strasbourg and Alsace in today´s France and it is not impossible that family members later emigrated from that area into what is today Germany. Below are a few of the geographical areas where the family name Zorn has been recorded in historical documents.

Alsace 1191, cities of Strasbourg & Konstanz

Rheinhesse Taunus 1209, cities of Mainz & Worms

Baden-Württemberg 1280, cities of Heilbronn & Mergentheim

Saxony Thuringia 1299

Franconia, cities of Würzburg & Nürnberg 1300

Tirol 1311

South-Swabia, city of Kempten 1312

Bavaria 1315

Rhine Westphalia 1375

Märkisch 1392

Austria 1381

Mosel, cities of Trier & Zeltingen 1526  

Mecklenburg-Pommern 1600

Foreign countries 1750, such as the US, Sweden, Brazil & South Africa

When examining the history of the family name Zorn it is evident that the family has had its greatest influence in the southern region of Germany. Towns where the family had an especially strong impact were Strasburg and Kempten. Both of these were important towns during the medieval times. It is also especially interesting to note that the first ever recorded citing of a Zorn is dated to 1197 in Strasbourg. 

The family grows and becomes one of the most influential families in the then very prosperous and important region of Alsace, a part of the mighty "Holy Roman Empire" (a vast confederacy of states and cities, mostly located in today's Germany).  The influence of the family can be measured by the many different family coat of arms (33).

To be able to understand the history of the family Zorn, it is important to consider historical events that took place in this region and that shaped the history of the family. The region of Alsace has seen many turmoil's throughout its history, including wars, plagues and failure of crops. All these factors influenced the family members to settle in various parts of Europe and later to newly colonized countries such as the US. Most of the early emigration took part to bordering German provinces such as Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatine and Bavaria. In these provinces along with Alsace, the family name Zorn is most frequently found in the world today, even tough cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and New York have attracted large numbers.  Throughout history the family name of Zorn appears in various towns and countries and grows in importance and influence only to disappear and to emerge somewhere else later.

Zorn in Strasbourg

The family Zorn were often involved in intrigues regarding the power in the city of Strasbourg. Especially the family of Müllenheim were their main rivalry. In 1308 a revolt from the citizens was suffocated but in 1332 after several skirmishes between the families of Zorn and Müllenheim causing 9 deaths, the citizens of Strasbourg had had enough and seizes the power and reforms the council of the city. Thus the power of both the families Zorn and Müllenheim is  reduced.


Zorn von Plobsheim

This is one of the more prominent lines of the Zorn family and who adopted the name von Plobsheim as their ancestor Johann Zorn von Eckerich  in 1416 were given the village Plobsheim by the Emperor Sigismund. In 1562 the Zorn von Plobsheim converted to the lutheran faith and as a result the village followed. For over 2 centuries this village was connected to this Zorn family.



The date is 7th of July 1414, Emperor Sigismund visits Strasbourg and is entertained by the Zorn families among others.

The Emperor Sigismund of the Holy Roman Empire is greeted to Strassbourg and the bells are sounding all over the city. A festive atmosphere is spread throughout the decorated streets. Emperor Sigismund is lead into the wonderful town by many boats and is greeted by the honourable citizens with candles in their hands. By the new bridge he rides a horse to the cathedral. There the place is so filled with people that he is forced to retreat to the Lehnherren property. After having had dinner the crowd has diminished and he is finally able to enter the wonderful cathedral and the inhabitants of Strassbourg continue to celebrate the beloved Emperor. The town gives the emperor 3 barrels of wine and a gilted silver jug worth 200 gulden. The Bishop Wilhelm von Diest is holding a magnificent festivity in honor of Sigismund and all the noble families attend. Afterwards the emperor visits the inn Mühlstein which belonged to the family Müllenheim where the festivity continues.

Women from the Zorn families takes the chance to invite the Emperor to their inn, Zum Hohen Steg the following day. Jokingly the Emperor says that that he doesn’t know the way to their inn but that they could come and lead him there. Laughing the women promises to do so. At 6 am in the morning the women comes to the Lehnherren property to get the emperor and when he sees that they have come for him, he takes his coat and dances barefoot with the women along the streets. When they come to the Kobergassen they buy the king a couple of shoes for 7 Kreuzer.  Thereafter they attend the Zorn Inn, Zum Hohen Steg where he is once again celebrated. When the emperor is ready to leave the city he gives the Zorn women 150 rings, each worth 2 gulden. They follow him a short distance along the river of Rhine and says goodbye after having enjoyed a feast meal.

Source: “Geschichte des Wasgaus” in property of Gully, Reaubeville, France.


Nikolaus Zorn receives the villages of Illkirch-Graffenstaden and Illwickersheim (today Ostvald)

In 1288 Nikolaus Zorn von Schultheiss receives the two villages of Illkirch-Graffenstaden and Illwickersheim by the Emperor Rudolphe. The knight Claus Zorn von Bulach eventually becomes the owner of the villages. In 1360 Emperor Charles VI allows the Knight of Jean Erbe to buy the villages. It is said that Zorn and Erbe should divide the tax incomes but because of continuous quarrels the Emperor Sigismund in 1418 disinherits both of the families and sells the villages to the town of Strasbourg for 9000 Florins.  



Das Goldene Buch von Strassburg

The Zorn family was one of the most dispersed families in Strassburg and in the whole province of Alsace. According to a historical record from 10th of March 1253 it is found that the Zorns originate from the family name Riplin when the Bishop Heinrich in Strassburg gives 20 Mark as a security to Nicolaus Zorn and Rulin, sons of Hugo Riplinius. This Nicolaus Zorn was one of the commanders of the Strassburg citizen army by the “Battle of Hausbergen” in 1262 where the Bishop Walter von Geroldseck is beaten and the citizens of Strassburg can claim their independence.  

Zorns at war

 Johannes Zorn von Lappe was against common pracitice executed when the city of Freiburgs army conquered the “burg zum Weiher” by Emmendingen. His relatives under Berthold Zorn Schultheiss raised “onehundred lanses” and made an alliance with the counts of Freiburg, Salm, Leiningen, landcount of Baden and the lords of Ettendorf. Their army was victorious in the battle of Endingen in18th of October 1367, a battle which resulted in over 1700 casualties.


Members of the Zorn families also participated in the medieval crusades and it has been recorded that 3 Zorn family members died in the battle of Nicopolis in 1396, located in today’s Bulgaria. This was a battle consisting of soldiers from many western European countries such as France, England and German provinces against the Turks. One of the main goals was to prevent Turkish presence in the Balkan region.

Titles and Positions

A few of the titles that were carried of Zorn family members contains: Burglehen in Ortenberg, Bishops of Strassburg, Landcounts of Elsass, Dukes in Burgund, Pfalzcounts, Markcounts of Baden and Hochberg, Counts of Hanau, Eberstein, Lords of Lichtenberg, Rappoltstein, Ettendorf, Frundsberg, Beger, Geispolsheim and Hohenstein.

 Source: Das Goldene Buch von Strassburg by J.Kindler


(december 2008) Read about the Mastersinger from Nuremberg; Fritz Zorn alias Balthasar Zorn as he is featured in Richard Wagners Opera "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg":
Balthasar Zorn

(december 2008) Eric S Zorn is Vice President of the mega superstore chain Wal - Mart.
Eric S. Zorn

(december 2008) A family tree of the Rhineland Palatinates Zorns has been added:
Johann Peter Zorn

(december 2008) Pictures of the castle Osthausen which is forever associated with the noble family Zorn von Bulach: Osthausen Castle

(december 2008) Read about the Mastersinger from Nuremberg; Fritz Zorn alias Balthasar Zorn as he is featured in Richard Wagners Opera "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg":
Balthasar Zorn

(september 2008) Information on South Carolina Zorns and their forefather Nicholas Zorn who received land from King George II in 1736. He came originally with his family and a group of luterhans from the Palatines in todays Germany and settled in the Orangeburg District of South Carolina. South Carolina Zorn

(september 2008) Most of the Dutch Zorns originate from Remlingen in Franconia. Find out more about their family tree: Dutch Zorn

(september 2008) The family tree of the famous Swedish painter Anders Zorn has been added. Anders Zorn

(june 2008) A few historical Zorn tales has been included from the book "Das Goldene Buch von Strassburg"

(june 2008) Read more about castles and forts once influenced or controlled by Zorn family members. Zorn castles and forts

(june 2008) A unique family tree of the early Zorn origin has been added. Riplin 2

(june 2008) Another branch has been added to the Michel Zorn (1645) family tree. Michel Zorn 2

(june 2008) Finally a downloadable version of Mr Eberhard Zorn´s book "The Zorn families in German speaking countries and abroad" (however mostly in German). Zornbook

(april 2008)
Zorns all over the world, take a closer look in our study on some of the worlds phonebooks. Zorns in the World

(april 2008) Perhaps one of the most famous Zorn buildings ever constructed? Take a closer look on the Zorn Residence in Chicago. Zorn Residence

(april 2008) Ok so we found 33 roads in the US named Zorn, 7 geographical locations and a township in Louisville, Kentucky named Brownsboro-Zorn. Zorn Places

(april 2008) The website have historical records of 278 Zorns from all over the world.

(april 2008) Karina Zorn is a jazzsinger from Canada who recently released her debut album "Through these eyes" Karina Zorn

(april 2008)
We have included a few new reader comments on our Contact Forum.
Contact Forum

(dec 2007) The old medieval church of Saint Pierre La Jeune in Strasbourg contains a chapel called Zorn.
Chapel Zorn

(dec 2007)  The earliest Zorn family member is a Hugo Riplin, first his great grand children takes the name Zorn. A name that is later divided into names such as Zorn von Bulach, Zorn von Schultheiss and Zorn von Lappe to distinguish the various family branches from one another.
Riplin 1

(dec 2007) In 1288 Nikolaus Zorn received the two villages of Illkirch-Graffenstadt and Illwickersheim from the emperor Rudolhpe.
Nikolaus Zorn

(nov 2007) A family tree from the original Zorn forefather "Burcard" mentioned in  the historical scripture "U 135" in the year 1197 where he was recorded in an official document as a witness of a treaty. Burcard

(nov 2007) A few more famous historical persons have been added, including: Marschall von Zorn (1249), Bartholomäus Zorn (1639-1717), Peter Zorn (1682-1746), Johan Melchior von Zorn (1723), Leopold Ignaz von Zorn (1733), Rudolf Zorn (1893-1966), Hermann Zorn (1896-1983), Hermann Zorn (1924-), Werner Zorn (1942-). Marschall Zorn

(nov 2007) Read more about when the Zorns threw a party for the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Emperor Sigismund

(nov 2007) Historical records about the Zorn von Bulach from the Archive in Bas-Rhin, France. Zorn von Bulach Archive