What do Barg and Fleth mean when put together? This is a family name of mine and I’m trying to trace it. There is a place called Barg in either northern Germany or southern Denmark and Fleth I’m a little more vague on.


1 Answer 1


This is one of the instances where English and northern German languages show their relation:

A fleet is a saline waterway, channel or inlet, literally meaning "something that flows" - the spelling varies a bit over time, but is recognizable. "Fleth" instead of "fleet" isn't far off. Especially 'h' often sort of a appears/disappears over time in many words. A few today examples are the "Fleet" in Hamburg, the river Fleet in London and various villages in England that are located along marshy waterways by the same name.

Fleets sometimes were used for the transport of goods, a kind of natural equivalent to artificial channels. Especially in Hamburg, they are one of the important mehods of accessing the warehouses build along them and still a landmark today.

On these channels or fleets the typical vessel was a flat-bottomed boat, often without own engine, that was pulled or pushed along: A barge or Barg (German).

And of course a number of ships are called a fleet again.

So Bargfleet could either be:

  • a fleet (=multiples) of barges or
  • a navigable waterway
  • These were some of the possibilities I had been mulling over in my mind. I was just worried that there might have been something I was either overlooking or a nuance of the language I didn't know about. Thank you all.
    – user18746
    Oct 22, 2015 at 13:47

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