What is a "Pogge"?

"Pogge" is the word for frog in Plattdeutsch (Low German), a dialect of German spoken throughout northern Germany and parts of the eastern Netherlands (where it is called Nedersaksisch or "Low Saxon"). The frog statue shown above sits atop the grave monument of Herr Pogge von Stefan Behrends in Hamburg's Ohlsdorf Cemetery; and is a visual pun on his surname.

In England, "Pogge" is the common name of the Armed Bullhead or Hooknose fish (Agonus cataphractus), a tidal fish found in estuaries along the English coast.

More info on the pogge fish.

Pogge is a German surname originating in northwestern Germany. My great-great grandfather Johannes Heinrich Pogge and his two brothers (Johannes Hermann and Franz X) emigrated to Iowa in the mid-1850s from the village of Herzfeld in Westfalen Germany (now in the modern state of Nordrhein-Westfalen), settling originally in West Point (Lee County) in southeast Iowa in 1856/57, with later generations spreading west to Neola (Pottawattamie County) Iowa. Most of the US Pogges I have been in contact with can trace their descent to one of the three Pogge brothers. Most of these Pogges lived in and around Neola, West Point, Council Bluffs, and Iowa City until the Second World War, after which they diffused across the country. Most still live in the midwestern US.

We have not yet established a link with a German branch of the family I've been in contact with, being unable to find a common ancestor back to about the 1640s, when the records from before that time vanish into the chaos of the Thiry Years' War.

Updated: 2016 September 5