German Surnames

German names are used in Germany and other German-speaking areas such as Austria and Switzerland. See also about German names.
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HUBERGerman
Occupational name for a farmer, derived from Old High German huoba "plot of land, farm".
HUMMEL (1)German, Dutch
Derived from the given name HUMBERT.
HUMMEL (2)German, Dutch
Nickname for a busy person, from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch hommel, Middle High German hummel, all meaning "bee".
HUTMACHERGerman
German cognate of HOEDEMAKER.
INGERSLEBENGerman
From the name of the town of Ingersleben, Germany, which meant "Inge's village".
JAEGERGerman
Variant of JÄGER.
JÄGERGerman, Jewish
From Middle High German jeger(e) meaning "hunter".
JAGERGerman
Variant of JÄGER.
JANSDutch, German
Means "son of JAN (1)".
JANZGerman
Means "son of JAN (1)".
JOLLENBECKGerman
In the village of Jollenbeck Germany, there is a river called the Jölle river which gave Jöllenbeck its name.
JUNDTGerman
Derived from a diminutive of the feminine given name JUDITH.
JUNGGerman
From Middle High German junc meaning "young".
JUNGEGerman
Variant of JUNG.
KAHLERGerman
From a nickname meaning "bald-headed" in German.
KAISERGerman
From Middle High German keiser meaning "emperor", originally a nickname applied to someone who acted kingly. The title ultimately derives from the Roman name CAESAR.
KALBGerman
Means "calf" (the animal) in German.
KALBFLEISCHGerman
Occupational surname that indicated a butcher who sold veal meat or a butcher who slaughtered calves. In German kalb means "calf" and fleisch means "meat".
KAPPELGerman, Dutch
Means "a person who lives near or works at a chapel" from Middle High German kappel "chapel".
KARLGerman
From the given name KARL.
KASPARGerman, Slovene
Derived from the given name KASPAR.
KASSMEYERGerman
From the Low German area around Paderborn. The ending of the name is derived from German meyer "farmer".
KÄSTNERGerman
Means "cabinet maker" from German kasten "box".
KATZGerman
Derived from the German word Katze "cat".
KAUBEGerman
From the name of a town, Kaub, in Germany.
KAUFERGerman
Means "a trader" in German.
KAUFMANGerman, Jewish
Means "merchant" in German.
KEILGerman
Means "wedge shaped" in German. It was used to denote a person who owned a wedge-shaped piece of land.
KELLERGerman, Hungarian
From Middle High German këller meaning "cellar". This is either an occupational name for a cellarer or a name for a person who lived in a cellar.
KEMPFGerman
German form of KEMP. In order to Americanize the name, some people dropped the letter f, altering the name to the English version.
KERNERGerman
Derived from German kern "seed". It is an occupational name for one who sold or planted seeds.
KERPERGerman
Variant of GERBER.
KIEFER (1)German
Means "pine tree" in German.
KIEFER (2)German
Derived from German kufe meaning "barrel". This was an occupational name for a barrel maker.
KIRCHNERGerman
Derived from Middle High German kirche "church". The name was probably given to someone who worked at a church or lived near one.
KISTLERGerman
Occupational name meaning "chest maker, cabinetmaker" in German.
KLEIDGerman, Jewish
Occupational name for a tailor, from German Kleid meaning "garment, clothing".
KLEINGerman, Dutch, Jewish
Means "small, little" from German klein or Yiddish kleyn. A famous bearer of this name is clothes designer Calvin Klein (1942-).
KLOSSNERGerman
Derived from German Klausner meaning "hermit".
KNEFGerman
Occupational name for a shoemaker (derived from Low German knif meaning "shoemaker's knife").
KNEIBGerman
Variant of KNEF.
KNELLERGerman
Originally a nickname for a noisy or disruptive person, derived from Old German knellen "to make noise, to cause a disturbance".
KNEPPGerman
Variant of KNOPF.
KNOCHENMUSGerman
From German knochen "bone" and mus "sauce". It probably referred to someone who worked in the butcher trade.
KNOPFGerman
Means "button" in German, originally belonging to a button maker or button seller.
KNOPPGerman
Variant of KNOPF.
KOCHGerman
German cognate of COOK.
KOCKLow German
Low German cognate of COOK.
KOENIGGerman
German cognate of KING.
KÖHLGerman
Variant of KOHL.
KOHLGerman
Derived from Middle High German kol "cabbage".
KOHLERGerman
From Middle High German koler meaning "charcoal burner" or "charcoal seller".
KOLBEGerman
Means "mace" in German. A mace is a heavy medieval war club with a spiked or flanged metal head, used to crush armour.
KÖNIGGerman
German cognate of KING, from Middle High German künnic, künec.
KÖNIGSMANNGerman
Means a "king's man", or someone who played a king in a play.
KOPPGerman
Derived from the given name JACOB.
KRÄMERGerman
From Middle High German kræmer, kramære, kromer and Middle Low German kramer, kremer, kromer meaning "shopkeeper, grocer".
KRANZDutch, German
Derived from Middle High German kranz "wreath".
KRAUSGerman
From Middle High German krus meaning "curly". Originally a nickname for a person with curly hair.
KRAUSEGerman
Variant of KRAUS.
KRAUSSGerman
Variant of KRAUS.
KRAUßGerman
Variant of KRAUS.
KREBSGerman
German word meaning "crab", perhaps a nickname for a person with a crab-like walk.
KRONGerman, Swedish
Means "crown", perhaps a nickname for one who worked in a royal household.
KRUCKELGerman
Nickname for a crippled person or someone who walked with a cane, from German krücke meaning "cane".
KRÜGER (1)Low German
In northern Germany: From Middle Low German kroger, kruger meaning "host".
KRÜGER (2)German
In southern Germany: Means "potter" from Middle High German kruoc meaning "jug, pot".
KRUSE (2)German
Occupational surname meaning "potter", from Middle High German kruse "pot, jug".
KÜCHLERGerman
Occupational surname for a baker who made small cakes or cookies. It is derived from Middle High German kuoche "cake, pastry".
KUHNGerman
Derived from a diminutive of the German given name KONRAD.
KUNDERTGerman
Derived from the given name KONRAD.
KUNKELGerman
Occupational name for a maker of spindles (Middle German kunkel "spindle", ultimately from Latin conus "cone").
KUNKLEGerman
Variant of KUNKEL.
KUNTZGerman
Derived from a nickname of KONRAD.
KUNZEGerman
Derived from a nickname of the given name KONRAD.
KURZMANNGerman
Means "short man" in German.
LANDAUGerman, Jewish
Derived from the German town of Landau, which meant "land valley".
LANGGerman, Danish, Norwegian
German, Danish and Norwegian cognate of LONG.
LANGEGerman, Danish, Norwegian
German, Danish and Norwegian cognate of LONG.
LANGENBERGGerman, Swedish
Means "long mountain" in German.
LANGERGerman, Jewish
German cognate of LONG.
LARENZGerman
Variant of LORENZ.
LEHMANNGerman
From Middle High German lehenman "vassal, liege man".
LEHRERGerman, Jewish
German surname meaning "teacher".
LEITNERGerman
Referred to one who dwells on the hillside; one who came from the Leite "slope". This is the name of several places in Germany.
LEITZGerman
Derived from the archaic given name Leutz, a form of LUTZ.
LEITZKEGerman
Derived from either Leitzkau, a town close to Magdeburg, Germany, or from LEITZ.
LENZGerman
Means "springtime" in German, from a nickname.
LICHTENBERGGerman
From Low German licht "light" and berg "hill".
LINDENGerman
Derived from Old High German linta meaning "linden tree".
LOEWEGerman
Variant of LÖWE.
LORENTZGerman
Derived from the given name LORENZ.
LORENZGerman
Derived from the given name LORENZ.
LORISGerman
Variant of LORENZ.
LORITZGerman
Variant of LORENZ.
LÖWEGerman
Means "lion" in German.
LUDWIGGerman
From the given name LUDWIG.
LUTHERGerman
From the given name LEUTHAR.
MAASDutch, Low German
From the given name MAAS.
MANDELGerman, Jewish
Means "almond" in German.
MANNGerman, English
From a nickname meaning "man". This may have originally been given in order to distinguish the bearer from a younger person with the same name.
MARQUARDTGerman
From Old German marka "border, boundary" and ward "protector". This was an occupational name for a border guard.
MARQUERINGDutch, German
Possibly a derivative of MARQUARDT.
MARQUERINKDutch, German
Possibly a derivative of MARQUARDT.
MARTINEnglish, French, German, Czech
Derived from the given name MARTIN.
MARTZGerman
Derived from an old diminutive of MARTIN.
MAURERGerman
Occupational name meaning "wall builder" in German.
MAUSGerman
From a nickname meaning "mouse" from the word mûs (Middle High German, Old High German).
MEINGerman
Derived from the given name MEINO.
MEINDLGerman
Diminutive form of MEIN.
MEINHARDTGerman
Derived from the given name MEINHARD.
MEISSNERGerman
Originally denoted a person from Meissen, Germany.
MELSBACHGerman
Means "mill stream" in German.
MENDELJewish, German
Derived from the given name MENDEL. A famous bearer was Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), a Czech monk and scientist who did experiments in genetics.
MERTENSDutch, Low German, Flemish
From the given name MERTEN.
MESSERGerman
Occupational surname for one who made knives, from German messer "knife".
MESSERLIGerman (Swiss)
Swiss diminutive form of MESSER.
MESSNERGerman
Occupational surname for a churchwarden.
METZ (1)German
Occupational name for a cutler derived from Middle High German metze "knife".
METZ (2)German
Derived from Mätz, a diminutive form of the given name MATTHIAS.
METZGERGerman
Means "butcher" in German, given to people who practiced that profession.
MEYER (1)German
From the Middle High German word meier meaning "higher, superior". It was used for landholder's stewards or great farmers or leaseholders (nowadays a Meier is a dairy farmer). Meier and Meyer are used more often in northern Germany while Maier and Mayer are used in southern Germany.
MICHEL (1)French, German, Dutch, Basque, Polish
Derived from the given name MICHEL, MITXEL or MICHAŁ.
MOHRENDutch, German
Dutch and German form of MOORE (2).
MÖLLERLow German
Low German form of MÜLLER.
MORGENSTERNGerman, Jewish
Ornamental name meaning "morning star" in German.
MOSERGerman
Name for someone who lived near a peat bog, from the Middle High German word mos.
MUHLFELDGerman
Means "mill field" German.
MÜLLERGerman
German equivalent of MILLER, derived from Middle High German mülnære or müller.
NAGELGerman, Dutch
Means "nail" in German and Dutch, and is probably related to the occupation of carpenter. It could also refer to a smith who specifically made nails.
NEUMANNGerman
From Middle High German niuwe and man "new man".
NUREMBERGGerman
Derived from the name of a city in Germany. It was first spelled Nurnberger and then Nuremberger.
NUSSBAUMGerman, Jewish
Means "nut tree" from the Germanic words nuß meaning "nut" and baum meaning "tree".
OBERSTGerman
Means "from the uppermost end of a village, top of a house" from Middle High German ober, obar.
OELBERGGerman
Means "oil hill" from the Germanic oel "oil" and berg "hill".
OHMEGerman
Means "uncle".
OLIVERCatalan, English, French, German, Scottish
Derived from the given name OLIVER.
OPPENHEIMERGerman
Originally indicated a person from Oppenheim, Germany.
OTTEnglish, German
From the given name OTTO.
OTTOGerman
From the German given name OTTO.
OURSLERGerman
Originally a name designating a person from Ursel, Germany.
PABSTGerman
From German Papst "pope", a cognate of POPE.
PAHLKEGerman
Means "tall, thin, pole-like" from Old French piel, although it may also have denoted a person who lived by a pole, or who worked with poles.
PAPKEGerman
Diminutive form of PABST.
PAPP (2)German
Means "glutton" from Late Latin pappare meaning "to eat".
PATERNOSTEREnglish, French, German, Italian
Occupational name for a maker of rosaries, also called paternosters. They are derived from the Latin phrase pater noster "our Father", the opening words of the Lord's Prayer.
PAULEnglish, French, German, Dutch
From the given name PAUL.
PAULISDutch, German
From Latin name Paulus (see PAUL).
PAWLITZKIGerman
From the given name PAUL.
PENZIGGerman, Yiddish
Denoted a person who came from Penzig, the German name for Pieńsk, a town in southwest Poland. Pieńsk is derived from Polish pień meaning "tree stump" or "tree trunk".
PETEREnglish, German, Dutch
Derived from the given name PETER.
PETERSEnglish, German
Derived from the given name PETER.
PFAFFGerman
From a nickname meaning "priest, cleric" in German.
PFENNINGGerman
Derived from the term pfenni(n)c or pfennig meaning "penny". It was used in reference to feudal tax obligations.
PLANKGerman, English
Means "plank" from Latin plancus. This could have referred to a person who lived by a plank bridge over a stream, someone who was as thin as a board, or a carpenter.
PLETCHERGerman
Originally a name for someone who lived by a field where cattle fodder was grown or else grew cattle fodder, from pletsch or bletsch.
POLZINGerman
From the name of a town in northern Germany.
PORSCHEGerman
Derived from the given name BORIS.
PORTNERGerman
Derived from German pfoertner, which means "gatekeeper".
PRINZGerman, Jewish
Means "prince", used as an ornamental name by Jews or as a nickname for someone who acted in a princely manner.
PROTZGerman
From a nickname meaning "showy, pompous", derived from an old southern German word meaning "toad".
RADEMACHERLow German
Low German cognate of RADEMAKER.
RAPP (2)German
From Middle High German raben meaning "raven", a nickname for a person with black hair.
RASCHGerman
German form of RASK.
RASKOPFGerman
Possibly from German rasch "quick" and Kopf "head".
REGENBOGENGerman, Jewish
From a German nickname meaning "rainbow".
REIERGerman
Variant of REIHER.
REIHERGerman
Means "heron" in German, a nickname for a person with long legs.
REISGerman, Jewish
From Middle High German ris meaning "twig, branch, bush", denoting a person who lived in an overgrown area. As a Jewish name it is ornamental.
RETTIGGerman
Derived from Middle High German retich, Middle Low German redik meaning "radish", an occupational name for a grower or seller of radishes.
REUTER (1)German
Fom Middle High German riute meaning "cleared land".
REUTER (2)German
From Middle High German riutœre meaning "highwayman, thief".
REYERGerman
Variant of REIHER.
RICHARDEnglish, French, German, Dutch
From the given name RICHARD.
RICHTERGerman
Means "judge" in German, from Middle High German rihtære.
RIESEGerman, Jewish
Means "giant" in German.
RITTERGerman
From Middle High German riter meaning "rider, knight", a cognate of RYDER.
ROSE (1)English, French, German, Jewish
Means "rose" from Middle English, Old French and Middle High German rose, all from Latin rosa. All denote a person of a rosy complexion or a person who lived in an area abundant with roses. As a Jewish surname it is ornamental, from Yiddish רויז (roiz).
ROSENBERGGerman, Swedish, Jewish
Means "rose mountain" in German and Swedish. As a Swedish and Jewish name it is ornamental.
ROSENFELDGerman, Jewish
Means "field of roses" in German. As a Jewish surname it is ornamental.
ROTGerman, Jewish
Variant of ROTH.
ROTHGerman, Jewish
From Middle High German rot meaning "red". It was originally a nickname for a person with red hair.
ROTHBAUERGerman
From Old High German riuten "to clear land" and bur "peasant, farmer".
ROTHENBERGGerman, Jewish
From Middle High German rot meaning "red" and berg meaning "mountain". As a Jewish name it may be ornamental.
RYERGerman (Anglicized)
Possibly an Americanized form of REIHER.
SACHSGerman
Originally indicated a person from Saxony (German Sachsen). The region was named for the Germanic tribe of the Saxons, ultimately derived from the Germanic word sahs meaning "knife".
SALLER (1)German
Originally denoted a person from the town of Sallern in Bavaria, possibly from a Celtic element meaning "stream".
SALLER (2)German
Denoted a person who lived by a prominent sallow tree, from Middle High German salhe "sallow tree".
SALZWEDELGerman
Originally denoted a person from Salzwedel, Germany, which is of Old Saxon origin meaning "salt ford".
SAMUELEnglish, French, German, Jewish
Derived from the given name SAMUEL.
SANDERGerman, Danish
Derived from the given name ALEXANDER.
SAUBERGerman
Means "clean, tidy" in German.
SAUTERGerman
Occupational name for a cobbler, from Latin sutor "sewer, cobbler".
SCHÄFERGerman
From Old High German scaphare meaning "shepherd".
SCHENKGerman, Dutch
From Middle High German, Middle Dutch schenke meaning "wine server" (from Old High German scenken "to pour out").
SCHERERGerman
Occupational name for a cutter of cloth or a sheep-shearer, from Old High German skeran "to cut".
SCHERMERDutch, Low German
Dutch and Low German form of SCHIRMER.
SCHINDLERGerman
Occupational name for a roof tiler, from Middle High German schindel "shingle". A famous bearer was Oskar Schindler (1908-1974), who saved over a thousand Polish Jews during World War II.
SCHIRMERGerman
Means "fencer, fencing master", from Old High German skirmen meaning "to defend".
SCHLENDERGerman
From Middle High German slinderen "to dawdle" or Middle Low German slinden "to swallow, eat".
SCHLIMMEGerman
From German schlimm "bad, crooked, awry".
SCHLOSSERGerman
Occupational name for a locksmith, derived from Old High German sloz meaning "lock".
SCHMELINGGerman
From Middle Low German smal meaning "small, slender".
SCHMIDTGerman
Occupational name derived from Middle High German smit "smith, metalworker", a cognate of SMITH.
SCHMITZGerman
Variant of SCHMIDT, originating in the Rhine area in western Germany.
SCHNEIDERGerman, Jewish
From German schneider or Yiddish shnayder, making it a cognate of SNYDER.
SCHNELLGerman
German cognate of SNELL.
SCHNURGerman, Jewish
From Old High German snuor meaning "rope, cord", an occupational name for a maker of rope.
SCHÖTTMERGerman
Originally indicated a person from Schötmar, Germany (now part of the city of Bad Salzuflen in North Rhine-Westphalia).
SCHRECKGerman
From Middle High German schrecken meaning "to frighten, to scare".
SCHREIBERGerman
German cognate of SCRIVEN.
SCHREIERGerman, Jewish
Occupational name for a town crier, from Old High German scrian meaning "to shout, to yell".
SCHRÖDER (1)Low German
Occupational name for a tailor, from Middle Low German schroden meaning "to cut".
SCHRÖTERGerman
Means "beer-porter, wine-porter" in German, an occupational name for a carrier of wine or beer barrels.
SCHUCHARDTGerman
From Middle High German schuochwürte meaning "shoemaker, cobbler".
SCHUHMACHERGerman
From the Middle High German occupational name schuochmacher meaning "shoemaker".
SCHULERGerman
Means "scholar, student" in German, ultimately from Latin schola meaning "school".
SCHULTLow German
Low German variant of SCHULTHEIß.
SCHULTELow German
Low German variant of SCHULTHEIß.
SCHULTHEIßGerman
Occupational name derived from Middle High German schultheiße meaning "mayor, judge".
SCHUSTERGerman
Means "shoemaker, cobbler", from Middle High German schuoch "shoe" and suter, from Latin sutor "sewer, cobbler".
SCHÜTTMANNGerman
Means "watchman, guard" from Middle High German schützen "to protect".
SCHWANGAUGerman
From the name of a town in southern Germany, possibly related to German Schwan meaning "swan".
SCHWARZGerman, Jewish
Means "black" in German, from Old High German swarz. It originally described a person with black hair or a dark complexion.
SCHWARZENBERGGerman
Means "black mountain" in German.
SCHWARZENEGGERGerman
From a place name, derived from Old High German swarz meaning "black" and ecka meaning "edge, corner". A famous bearer of this name is actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947-).
SCHWEITZERGerman
Indicated a person from Switzerland (see SCHWEIZ).
SCHWENKE (1)German
Derived from Middle High German swenken meaning "to swing".
SCHWENKE (2)German
From a given name, a Low German diminutive of SWANHILD.
SCHWINGHAMMERGerman
Occupational name for a blacksmith, literally meaning "swing hammer" in German.
SEEGERGerman
From the given name SIEGER.