Last name origins & meanings:

  1. German: from Middle High German kolbe in various meanings. The main sense is ‘mace’ or ‘cudgel’, which was both a weapon and part of an official’s insignia, in some cases the insignia of a jester. It may also be a house name: there is also record of a house named ‘zum Kolben’ in Strasbourg. In Silesia the term denoted a shock of hair or a shorn head. Any of these senses could have given rise to the surname.
  2. Dielman Kolb (1691–1756), a Mennonite preacher who arrived in America in 1717 and assisted Swiss and German emigration to America, was born in the Palatinate, Germany, and migrated to PA, following two of his brothers who were also Mennonite preachers. Some of the family settled in Germantown, PA.
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