The origin of the surname Bellingrath begins with with either the German "Beil" (meaning "ax") or "Bello" (meaning "war"). In either case the ing suffix was added to indicate children descended from the first Beil or Bello. The final addition "roth" or ""rodt" was probably derived from the German "roden"" or "rodung". This ending indicates people living in a certain area or clearing-roden. Thus, the complete name, Bellingroden, at one time indicated children descended from Beil or Bello who lived in a particular area. The name later evolved into Bellingrodt. The name Bellingrath was a spelling-error ("a" instead of "o"), what happende quiet often in the past centuries. About the year 1000 the foundation of the House of Bellinghausen was laid. It was destroyed about 1450. After that the family emigrated to Kurland (East Prussia) on the Baltic Sea. At this time there were many Germans living in the area. My grandfather, Herbert Bellingrath, claims that all the Bellingraths we know of the Neidelgelper Line are the descendents of Admiral Fabian Gottlieb von Bellinghausen. The exact time when the Bellingraths returned to Westfalia is not known. As you remember, Admiral von Bellinghausen was the explorer of the South Arctic area, where you will find Bellinhausen Sea, Peter Island, and Alexander. He sailed under the Russian flag. Our ancestors in the 10th generation, Johann Bellingrad zu Bellngroth, was honorary chairman of the "Oberbergischen Farm Guild" and was also honorary officer at the Court in Gummersbach. It was possible for Johann Bellingrath zu Bellingroth to appear in the highest court of that time and to speak out against the Duke Adam von Schwarzenberg, concerning matters of rights of the free farmers. He took a stand according to the old Germanic Rights and through this he won the case. This definitely is proof that in that time our ancestor, Johann Bellingrad zu Bellingroth, enjoyed the highest degree of respect. Soon more information about the "Bellingrath Family History" here.