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"Finster" is a name of German origin. It's meaning can be approximately translated "dark" or "gloomy" [1]. Perhaps it is a reference to the forests of southern Germany, as one web resource defines it as "dweller at, or near the pine woods" [2]. There have been Finsters listed in English and Scottish censuses back to the early 1800s, and even one Finster listed as a witness to a will in the 1600s in Barbados. (please see BARBADOS below)

Some Finsters can trace their origins to Atzhausen, Bavaria, Germany [3].

One set of Finsters has family arms listed in "Armorial of the whole nobility of the Kingdom of Bavaria" volume 5. Finster auf Urfahrn (Finster on Urfahrn, referring to the "Castle" of Urfahrn[4]). The illustration includes a rampant black bear standing on a green hill against a golden background. (Formal blazon of Arms: Finster auf Urfahrn-- D'or, à un ours rampant de sable, soutenu d'un tertre de sinople. Casque couronné.[5]) Finster auf Urfahrn.jpg

In the United States, there are several sets of Finster families, among which relationship links are difficult to document. One group is in upstate New York, with frequent mentions of Herkimer County, New York, for example George Finster of Schuyler, Herkimer County, New York [6]; another group is known from Oswego County, New York (no link has yet been documented between them and the Herkimer County Finsters). The Oswego County Finsters (see David_Finster family tree at[7]; very soon have members moving west into Michigan, then to Iowa and South Dakota, and some from there to California. One more set of Finsters is found in Indiana (See, for example, the Rankin Cemetery listing[8]. Yet another is heard from in South Carolina (See, for example, George Finster, found in the National Park service Civil war Soldiers and Sailors System [9].


From English Settlers in Barbados, 1637-1800 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data:

• Joanne McRee Sanders. Barbados Records: Baptisms, 1637-1800. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1984.

• Joanne McRee Sanders. Barbados Records: Marriages, 1643-1800. Vols. 1-2. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982.

• Joanne McRee Sanders. Barbados Records: Wills, 1639-1725. Vols. 1-3. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979-1981.