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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HUBER German
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".
HUTMACHER German
German cognate of HOEDEMAKER.
INGERSLEBEN German
From the name of the town of Ingersleben, Germany, which meant "Inge's village".
JAEGER German
Variant of JÄGER.
JÄGER German
Means "hunter" in German, from Old High German jagon meaning "to hunt".
JAGER German
Variant of JÄGER.
JANS Dutch, German
Means "son of JAN (1)".
JANZ German
Means "son of JAN (1)".
JÖLLENBECK German
From the name of a village in western Germany, itself derived from the name of the Jölle, a small river, combined with Low German beck "stream".
JUNDT German
Derived from a diminutive of the feminine given name JUDITH.
JUNG German
Means "young" in German, from Middle High German junc.
JUNGE German
Variant of JUNG.
KAHLER German
From a nickname meaning "bald-headed" in German.
KAISER German
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.
KALB German
Means "calf" (the animal) in German.
KALBFLEISCH German
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".
KAPPEL German, Dutch
Means "a person who lives near or works at a chapel" from Middle High German kappel "chapel".
KARL German
From the given name KARL.
KASPAR German, Slovene
Derived from the given name KASPAR.
KASSMEYER German
From the Low German area around Paderborn. The ending of the name is derived from German meyer "farmer".
KÄSTNER German
Means "cabinet maker" from German kasten "box".
KATZ German
Derived from the German word Katze "cat".
KAUBE German
From the name of a town, Kaub, in Germany.
KÄUFER German
Variant of KAUFER.
KAUFER German
Means "a trader" in German.
KAUFMAN German, Jewish
Means "merchant" in German.
KEIL German
Means "wedge shaped" in German. It was used to denote a person who owned a wedge-shaped piece of land.
KELLER German, 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.
KEMPF German
German form of KEMP. In order to Americanize the name, some people dropped the letter f, altering the name to the English version.
KERNER German
Derived from German kern "seed". It is an occupational name for one who sold or planted seeds.
KERPER German
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.
KIRCHNER German
Derived from Middle High German kirche "church". The name was probably given to someone who worked at a church or lived near one.
KISTLER German
Occupational name meaning "chest maker, cabinetmaker" in German.
KLEID German, Jewish
Occupational name for a tailor, from German Kleid meaning "garment, clothing".
KLEIN German, Dutch, Jewish
Means "small, little" from German klein or Yiddish kleyn. A famous bearer of this name is clothes designer Calvin Klein (1942-).
KLOSSNER German
Derived from German Klausner meaning "hermit".
KNEF German
Occupational name for a shoemaker (derived from Low German knif meaning "shoemaker's knife").
KNEIB German
Variant of KNEF.
KNELLER German
Originally a nickname for a noisy or disruptive person, derived from Old German knellen "to make noise, to cause a disturbance".
KNEPP German
Variant of KNOPF.
KNOCHENMUS German
From German knochen "bone" and mus "sauce". It probably referred to someone who worked in the butcher trade.
KNOPF German
Means "button" in German, originally belonging to a button maker or button seller.
KNOPP German
Variant of KNOPF.
KOCH German
German cognate of COOK.
KOCK Low German
Low German cognate of COOK.
KOENIG German
German cognate of KING.
KÖHL German
Variant of KOHL.
KOHL German
Derived from Middle High German kol "cabbage".
KÖHLER German
Variant of KOHLER.
KOHLER German
From Middle High German koler meaning "charcoal burner" or "charcoal seller".
KOLBE German
Means "mace" in German. A mace is a heavy medieval war club with a spiked or flanged metal head, used to crush armour.
KÖNIG German
German cognate of KING, from Middle High German künnic, künec.
KÖNIGSMANN German
Means a "king's man", or someone who played a king in a play.
KOPP German
Derived from the given name JACOB.
KRÄMER German
From Middle High German kræmer, kramære, kromer and Middle Low German kramer, kremer, kromer meaning "shopkeeper, grocer".
KRANZ Dutch, German
Derived from Middle High German kranz "wreath".
KRAUS German
From Middle High German krus meaning "curly". Originally a nickname for a person with curly hair.
KRAUSE German
Variant of KRAUS.
KRAUSS German
Variant of KRAUS.
KRAUß German
Variant of KRAUS.
KREBS German
German word meaning "crab", perhaps a nickname for a person with a crab-like walk.
KRON German, Swedish
Means "crown", perhaps a nickname for one who worked in a royal household.
KRUCKEL German
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".
KÜCHLER German
Occupational surname for a baker who made small cakes or cookies. It is derived from Middle High German kuoche "cake, pastry".
KUHN German
Derived from a diminutive of the German given name KONRAD.
KUNDERT German
Derived from the given name KONRAD.
KUNKEL German
Occupational name for a maker of spindles (Middle German kunkel "spindle", ultimately from Latin conus "cone").
KUNKLE German
Variant of KUNKEL.
KUNTZ German
Derived from a nickname of KONRAD.
KUNZE German
Derived from a nickname of the given name KONRAD.
KURZMANN German
Means "short man" in German.
LAFRENZ German
Variant of LORENZ.
LANDAU German, Jewish
Derived from the German town of Landau, which meant "land valley".
LANG German, Danish, Norwegian
German, Danish and Norwegian cognate of LONG.
LANGE German, Danish, Norwegian
German, Danish and Norwegian cognate of LONG.
LANGENBERG German, Swedish
Means "long mountain" in German.
LANGER German, Jewish
German cognate of LONG.
LARENZ German
Variant of LORENZ.
LAURENZ German
Variant of LORENZ.
LAURITZ German
Variant of LORENZ.
LAWRENZ German
Variant of LORENZ.
LEHMANN German
From Middle High German lehenman "vassal, liege man".
LEHRER German, Jewish
German surname meaning "teacher".
LEITNER German
Referred to one who dwells on the hillside; one who came from the Leite "slope". This is the name of several places in Germany.
LEITZ German
Derived from the archaic given name Leutz, a form of LUTZ.
LEITZKE German
Derived from either Leitzkau, a town close to Magdeburg, Germany, or from LEITZ.
LENZ German
Means "springtime" in German, from a nickname.
LICHTENBERG German
From Low German licht "light" and berg "hill".
LINDEN German
Derived from Old High German linta meaning "linden tree".
LOEWE German
Variant of LÖWE.
LOHRENZ German
Variant of LORENZ.
LORENTZ German
Derived from the given name LORENZ.
LORENZ German
Derived from the given name LORENZ.
LORIS German
Variant of LORENZ.
LORITZ German
Variant of LORENZ.
LÖWE German
Means "lion" in German.
LUDWIG German
From the given name LUDWIG.
LUTHER German
From the given name LEUTHAR.
MAAS Dutch, Low German
From the given name MAAS.
MANDEL German, Jewish
Means "almond" in German.
MANN German, 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.
MARQUARDT German
From Old German marka "border, boundary" and ward "protector". This was an occupational name for a border guard.
MARQUERING Dutch, German
Possibly a derivative of MARQUARDT.
MARQUERINK Dutch, German
Possibly a derivative of MARQUARDT.
MARTIN English, French, German, Czech
Derived from the given name MARTIN.
MARTZ German
Derived from an old diminutive of MARTIN.
MAURER German
Occupational name meaning "wall builder" in German.
MAUS German
From a nickname meaning "mouse" from the word mûs (Middle High German, Old High German).
MEIN German
Derived from the given name MEINO.
MEINDL German
Diminutive form of MEIN.
MEINHARDT German
Derived from the given name MEINHARD.
MEISSNER German
Originally denoted a person from Meissen, Germany.
MELSBACH German
Means "mill stream" in German.
MENDEL Jewish, 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.
MERTENS Dutch, Low German, Flemish
From the given name MERTEN.
MESSER German
Occupational surname for one who made knives, from German messer "knife".
MESSERLI German (Swiss)
Swiss diminutive form of MESSER.
MESSNER German
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.
METZGER German
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.
MOHREN Dutch, German
Dutch and German form of MOORE (2).
MÖLLER Low German
Low German form of MÜLLER.
MORGENSTERN German, Jewish
Ornamental name meaning "morning star" in German.
MOSER German
Name for someone who lived near a peat bog, from the Middle High German word mos.
MUHLFELD German
Means "mill field" German.
MÜLLER German
German equivalent of MILLER, derived from Middle High German mülnære or müller.
NAGEL German, 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.
NEUMANN German
From Middle High German niuwe and man "new man".
NUREMBERG German
Derived from the name of a city in Germany. It was first spelled Nurnberger and then Nuremberger.
NUSSBAUM German, Jewish
Means "nut tree" from the Germanic words nuß meaning "nut" and baum meaning "tree".
OBERST German
Means "from the uppermost end of a village, top of a house" from Middle High German ober, obar.
OELBERG German
Means "oil hill" from the Germanic oel "oil" and berg "hill".
OHME German
Means "uncle".
OLIVER Catalan, English, French, German, Scottish
Derived from the given name OLIVER.
OPPENHEIMER German
Originally indicated a person from Oppenheim, Germany.
OTT English, German
From the given name OTTO.
OTTO German
From the German given name OTTO.
OURSLER German
Originally a name designating a person from Ursel, Germany.
PABST German
From German Papst, a cognate of POPE.
PAHLKE German
Low German cognate of PEEL.
PAPKE Low German
Low German diminutive form of papa (see POPE).
PAPP (2) German
Nickname perhaps related to Late Latin pappare meaning "to eat".
PAUL English, French, German, Dutch
From the given name PAUL.
PAWLITZKI German
From the given name PAUL.
PETER English, German, Dutch
Derived from the given name PETER.
PETERS English, German, Dutch
Means "son of PETER".
PFAFF German
From a nickname meaning "priest, cleric" from Old High German pfaffo, from Latin papa.
PFENNING German
From Old High German pfenning meaning "penny, coin". It was used in reference to feudal tax obligations.
PLANCK German
German variant of PLANK.
PLANK German, English
Means "plank", from Old French, itself from Late Latin planca. This could have referred to a person who lived by a plank bridge over a stream, someone who was thin, or a carpenter.
PLETCHER German
Anglicized form of PLETSCHER.
PLETSCHER German
Possibly from the name of a field where cattle fodder was grown, from German Bletsch.
POLZIN German
From the name of a town in Pomerania, Poland (formerly part of Germany). In Polish it is called Połczyn.
PORSCHE German
Derived from the given name BORIS.
PORTNER Low German
Low German cognate of PORTER.
PRINZ German, Jewish
Means "prince", used as an ornamental name by Jews or as a nickname for someone who acted in a princely manner.
PROTZ German
From a nickname meaning "showy, pompous", derived from an old southern German word meaning "toad".
RADEMACHER Low German
Low German cognate of RADEMAKER.
RAPP (2) German
From Middle High German raben meaning "raven", a nickname for a person with black hair.
RASCH German
German form of RASK.
RASKOB German
Variant of RASKOPF.
RASKOP German
Variant of RASKOPF.
RASKOPF German
Possibly from German rasch "quick" and Kopf "head".
REGENBOGEN German, Jewish
From a German nickname meaning "rainbow".
REIER German
Variant of REIHER.
REIHER German
Means "heron" in German, a nickname for a person with long legs.
REIS German, 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.
RETTIG German
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".
REYER German
Variant of REIHER.
RICHARD English, French, German, Dutch
From the given name RICHARD.
RICHTER German
Means "judge" in German, from Middle High German rihtære.
RIESE German, Jewish
Means "giant" in German.
RITTER German
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).
ROSENBERG German, Swedish, Jewish
Means "rose mountain" in German and Swedish. As a Swedish and Jewish name it is ornamental.
ROSENFELD German, Jewish
Means "field of roses" in German. As a Jewish surname it is ornamental.
ROT German, Jewish
Variant of ROTH.
ROTH German, Jewish
From Middle High German rot meaning "red". It was originally a nickname for a person with red hair.
ROTHBAUER German
From Old High German riuten "to clear land" and bur "peasant, farmer".
ROTHENBERG German, Jewish
From Middle High German rot meaning "red" and berg meaning "mountain". As a Jewish name it may be ornamental.
RYER German (Anglicized)
Possibly an Americanized form of REIHER.
SACHS German
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".
SALZWEDEL German
Originally denoted a person from Salzwedel, Germany, which is of Old Saxon origin meaning "salt ford".
SAMUEL English, French, German, Jewish
Derived from the given name SAMUEL.
SANDER German, Danish
Derived from the given name ALEXANDER.
SAUBER German
Means "clean, tidy" in German.
SAUTER German
Occupational name for a cobbler, from Latin sutor "sewer, cobbler".
SCHÄFER German
From Old High German scaphare meaning "shepherd".
SCHEER German
Variant of SCHERER.
SCHENCK German
Variant of SCHENK.
SCHENK German, Dutch
From Middle High German, Middle Dutch schenke meaning "wine server" (from Old High German scenken "to pour out").
SCHERER German
Occupational name for a cutter of cloth or a sheep-shearer, from Old High German skeran "to cut".
SCHERMER Dutch, Low German
Dutch and Low German form of SCHIRMER.
SCHINDLER German
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.
SCHIRMER German
Means "fencer, fencing master", from Old High German skirmen meaning "to defend".
SCHLENDER German
From Middle High German slinderen "to dawdle" or Middle Low German slinden "to swallow, eat".
SCHLIMME German
From German schlimm "bad, crooked, awry".
SCHLOSSER German
Occupational name for a locksmith, derived from Old High German sloz meaning "lock".
SCHMELING German
From Middle Low German smal meaning "small, slender".
SCHMID German
Variant of SCHMIDT.
SCHMIDT German
Occupational name derived from Middle High German smit "smith, metalworker", a cognate of SMITH.
SCHMITZ German
Variant of SCHMIDT, originating in the Rhine area in western Germany.
SCHNEIDER German, Jewish
From German schneider or Yiddish shnayder, making it a cognate of SNYDER.
SCHNELL German
German cognate of SNELL.
SCHNOOR German
Variant of SCHNUR.
SCHNUR German, Jewish
From Old High German snuor meaning "rope, cord", an occupational name for a maker of rope.
SCHÖTTMER German
Originally indicated a person from Schötmar, Germany (now part of the city of Bad Salzuflen in North Rhine-Westphalia).
SCHRECK German
From Middle High German schrecken meaning "to frighten, to scare".
SCHREIBER German
German cognate of SCRIVEN.
SCHREIER German, 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".
SCHRÖTER German
Means "beer-porter, wine-porter" in German, an occupational name for a carrier of wine or beer barrels.
SCHUCHARDT German
From Middle High German schuochwürte meaning "shoemaker, cobbler".
SCHUHMACHER German
From the Middle High German occupational name schuochmacher meaning "shoemaker".
SCHULER German
Means "scholar, student" in German, ultimately from Latin schola meaning "school".
SCHULT Low German
Low German variant of SCHULTHEIß.
SCHULTE Low German
Low German variant of SCHULTHEIß.
SCHULTHEIß German
Occupational name derived from Middle High German schultheiße meaning "mayor, judge".
SCHUSTER German
Means "shoemaker, cobbler", from Middle High German schuoch "shoe" and suter, from Latin sutor "sewer, cobbler".
SCHÜTTMANN German
Means "watchman, guard" from Middle High German schützen "to protect".
SCHWANGAU German
From the name of a town in southern Germany, possibly related to German Schwan meaning "swan".
SCHWARZ German, Jewish
Means "black" in German, from Old High German swarz. It originally described a person with black hair or a dark complexion.
SCHWARZENBERG German
Means "black mountain" in German.
SCHWARZENEGGER German
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-).
SCHWEITZER German
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.
SCHWINGHAMMER German
Occupational name for a blacksmith, literally meaning "swing hammer" in German.
SEEGER German
From the given name SIEGER.
SEIDEL German
From a diminutive of the given name SIEGFRIED.
SENFT (1) German
Occupational name for a mustard seller, from German Senf "mustard".
SENFT (2) German
Nickname for a helpful, kind person, from Old High German semfti meaning "soft, accommodating".