Lee, it was common practice in some(all) the German regions for farm huerlings(sp)(in English hirelings) on a farm to assume the farm's last name. So if Hermann Heinrich Meier (1794 - 1842)was a hireling on the Petering farm, he would be known as Hermann Heinrich Petering. My ancestor assumed his ancestoral name when he migrated to the U.S. I suppose the immigrant could choose whatever name he chose after he left the farm.
Anyway, this could be an explanation.
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