Re: Meaning of the last name Fehr?
The claim that "Fehr" refers to the profession of the ferryman is the oldest and most widely accepted speculation. However, it may not be correct. Note first of all that "Fehr" (at least in many of its branches) was originally written DeFehr, Defaehr, and so on. Most, but certainly not all families dropped the "de". But the first Mennonites who bore this name were Dutch and wrote it "de Veer" or "deVer" (etc.) and lived in the predominantly German region of Prussia, where the name was given a German spelling and pronunciation. So the question as to what "Fehr" means needs to changed into the question: What did the Dutch name "de Veer" mean? It may have referred to a ferryman (or else to "fair-haired"), but it is also not impossible that it means the persons originally came from the town of Veere (on the island of Walcheren in the southwest Netherlands). The earliest identified person of this name, Gysbert Jansz. de Veer, was born in Schiedam, Neth., a town to which a large number of Veere natives fled in the 16th century. I am of the opinion that the name Fehr means: "from Veere".