German Submitted Surnames
Submitted names are contributed by users of this website. The accuracy of these name definitions cannot be guaranteed.
NIEDERHÄUSER German, Swiss
Habitational name from any of numerous places named Niederhaus or Niederhausen, denoting the lower of two dwellings or settlements or one in a low-lying position.
North German: topographic name from Middle Low German nie ‘new’ + hus ‘house’; or a habitational name from a common North German and Westphalian farm name with the same meaning.
NIEMEYER Low German
North German nickname for a newly arrived steward or tenant farmer, from Middle Low German nie
‘new’ + Meyer
German: from a reduced form of the personal name Dionys
), which was stressed on the last syllable; this was a popular personal name as a result of the influence of the French Saint Denis
Occupational name for a gelder of hogs, from Middle High German nunne, nonne meaning "nun", and by transfer "castrated hog" + an agent derivative of machen meaning "to make".
NORRELL English, German (?)
A locational surname from the Germanic (Old English/Old Norse) term for the north. It either refers to someone who lived in a location called Northwell, lived north of a well, spring or stream (Old English weall
from Middle High German nuz ‘nut’, hence a metonymic occupational name for a gatherer and seller of nuts, or a nickname for a man thought to resemble a nut in some way
Surname used to refer to someone who lived 'up there' (on a mountain, hill, etc.).
OCHSNER German (Swiss)
Means "Oxen Herder" in Swiss. It is pronounced as OCKSNER, and it is just as popular in Switzerland as Smith is in the US.
Possibly a respelling of German Auffahrt
Means "powerlessness; helplessness; without power" in German. This was often used to describe someone very weak.
Generally considered a (very) contracted form of given names that contained the Old High German element od
"fortune; wealth" (or a variant thereof) and a second element that began with or contained the letter B, for example Audobald.
OVERHOLSER German (Swiss)
The Oberholtzer family originated in the Swiss village of Oberholtz, south of Zurich, before the 15th century. However, in 1661, one family left Switzerland for the Palatinate in Germany.
Metonymic occupational name for a horse dealer, from Middle Low German page
PAINTER English, Medieval French, German
English: from Middle English, Old French peinto(u)r
, oblique case of peintre
‘painter’, hence an occupational name for a painter (normally of colored glass). In the Middle Ages the walls of both great and minor churches were covered with painted decorations, and Reaney and Wilson note that in 1308 Hugh le Peyntour
and Peter the Pavier were employed ‘making and painting the pavement’ at St... [more]
The name Pallmann originates from the Landsuhl area of Bavaria, Germany (nor in Rhineland-Palatinate). The meaning of the name is unknown. Some Pallmanns came to America and Americanized the spelling, by dropping the second "n", while others retained the "n".
Variant Of Pardon From Middle English Pardun, Pardon "Pardon" A Metonymic occupational name for a pardoner, a person licensed to sell papal pardons or indulgences. German: either a cognate of 1 (also for a sexton), from Old French pardon ‘pardon’, or perhaps a nickname from Middle Low German bardun, Middle High German purdune ‘pipe’ (instrument), ‘tenor’ (voice).
Topographic name for a field or meadow which was used at Easter as a playground; etymologically two sources seem to be combined: Latin pascuum ‘pasture’ and Middle Low German pāsche(n) ‘Easter’.
"Pechman" means "man with bad luck" in many European languages (Polish, German, and Dutch predominantly), though in German, it originally referred to one who prepared, sold, or used pitch.
From Middle Low German pek
‘sharp, pointed tool or weapon’.
PEIPER German (Austrian)
Occupational name for a piper, from Middle High German piper
. In some cases it may be derived from Sorbian pipar
"pepper", thus being an occupational name for a spicer or a nickname for one with a fiery temper.
From Middle Low German pelle
"precious purple silk cloth", presumably an occupational name for a maker or seller of such cloth or for a maker of official and church vestments.
PELTZ German, Jewish
Occupational name for a furrier, from Middle High German bellez
, (modern German pelz
) "fur", "animal skin".
Occupational name for a furrier, from an agent derivative Middle High German bellez
PENNING English, Dutch, Low German
From early Middle English penning
, Low German penning
, and Middle Dutch penninc
, all meaning "penny". It was used as a topographic surname or a nickname referring to tax dues of a penny.
German. Derives from a pet form of a Slavic version of the given name Peter
PFEFFER German, Jewish
Occupational name for a spicer, or a nickname for a person with a fiery temper, for a small man, or for a dark-haired person. Derived from German Pfeffer
Occupational name for a pipe player. From German Pfeife
From Middle High German pfil ‘arrow’ (from Latin pilum ‘spike’, ‘javelin’), either a metonymic occupational name for an arrowsmith or possibly a nickname for a tall thin man.
a topographic name for someone who lived by a swamp or pond, Middle High German phuol.... [more]
metonymic occupational name for a sealer of weights, or for a wholesale merchant, from Middle High German pfunt ‘pound’ (as a measure of weight and a unit of currency).
PILGRIM English, German
From Middle English pilegrim
or Middle High German bilgerin
(from Latin pelegrinus
"traveler"; see Pellegrino
). This originated as a nickname for a person who had been on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land or to some seat of devotion nearer home, such as Santiago de Compostella, Rome, or Canterbury... [more]
PINK English, German
Nickname, possibly for a small person, from Middle English pink penk
g ‘minnow’ (Old English pinc).English (southeastern): variant of Pinch
.Variant spelling of German Pinck
, an indirect occupational name for a blacksmith, an onomatopoeic word imitating the sound of hammering which was perceived as pink(e)pank... [more]
PIONKE German, Polish
Germanized form of Slavic Pinoek, which is a nickname from pionek ‘puppet’.
PLUM English, German, Jewish
English and North German: from Middle English plum(b)e, Middle Low German plum(e) ‘plum’, hence a topographic name for someone who lived by a plum tree, or a metonymic occupational name for a fruit grower... [more]
PLUMER German, English, Dutch
North German (Plümer) and English: variant of Plum
, the suffix -er denoting habitation or occupation. Altered form of South German Pflümer
, an occupational name for a grower or seller of plums, from an agent derivative of Middle High German pflume ‘plum’... [more]
Nickname for a braggart or bogeyman, of uncertain Slavic origin.
German (Westphalian): topographic name for someone who lived by a muddy pool, from an agent noun derived from Middle Low pol
pronounced,Pfowelser,it means person skilled with bird's,as in Hawk's or Eagle's(bird's of prey).From Palatine,or Austria(a Royal house).
From a dialect word for standard German Pfau ‘peacok’, a nickname for a vain person or for someone with a strutting gait.
1 topographic name from Middle Low German pol "(muddy) pool" (Low German Pohl).... [more]
POLAND English, German, French (Anglicized), Irish (Anglicized)
English and German name is derived from the Middle High German Polan
, which means "Poland". The surname originally signified a person with Polish connections.This French surname originated from an occupational name of a poultry breeder, or from a fearful person; it is derived from the Old French poule
, which means "chicken".In other cases, particularly in Ireland, the English Poland is a variant of Polin,which is in turn an Anglicised form of the original Gaelic spelling of Mac Póilín
, which translated from Irish means "son of little Paul"... [more]
Occupational name for an importer or seller of bitter (Seville) oranges, Middle High German pomeranz
(medieval Latin pomarancia
, composed of the elements arancia
, the name imported with the fruit.
POPP German, English
From a Germanic personal name Poppo
, of uncertain origin and meaning, perhaps originally a nursery word or a short form of for example Bodobert
, a Germanic personal name meaning ‘famous leader’... [more]
POSTHUMUS Dutch, Low German
From a personal name which was given to a posthumous child, i.e., one born after the death of his father, derived from Latin postumus
"last, last-born" (superlative of posterus
"coming after, subsequent") via Late Latin posthumus
, which was altered by association with Latin humare
"to bury", suggesting death (i.e., thought to consist of post
"after" and humus
"grave", hence "after death"); the one born after the father's death obviously being the last.
Nickname for a chatterer or grumbler, from an agent derivative of Middle High German breglen ‘to chatter’, ‘complain’, ‘yell’, ‘roar’.
PREÜSS German (East Prussian)
Origin: From the New Latin 'Prussia', the Latin form used by Peter of Dusburg for the name of the region in the now-extinct language of its Baltic inhabitants, 'Prūsa'. Prussia (German: About this sound Preußen; Latin: Borussia, Prutenia; Latvian: Prūsija; Lithuanian: Prūsija; Polish: Prusy; Old Prussian: Prūsa; Danish: Prøjsen; Russian: Пру́ссия) was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg... [more]
PRIOR English, Scottish, Dutch, German
Derived from Latin prior
meaning "superior". It was used as an occupational surname for a prior, which is a head of a religious house, below an abbot.
PROPHET English, Scottish, French, German
Scottish, English, French, and German: nickname from Middle English and Old French prophete
, Middle High German prophet
‘prophet’, ‘seer’, ultimately from Greek prophetes
‘predictor’, from pro
‘before’ + a
derivative of phemi
‘to speak’... [more]
A habitational name for someone from any of various places in Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, and Luxembourg called Protz.
Of Slavic origin, habitational name from Podewils in Pomerania.
PULVER Low German, French, English
I comes from the Latin verb meaning "to make powder." This name was given to either an alchemist or one who made gunpowder.
PUSCHAT German (East Prussian)
East Prussian German (and thus heavily Lithuanian influenced) surname derived from Lithuanian pušaite
"(young) pine tree", which - allegedly - used to be a term of endearment for a young girl.
Habitational name from any of several places so named in Rhineland, Westphalia, and Pomerania, but in most cases a topographic name from Middle Low German putte ‘pit’, ‘well’, ‘puddle’, ‘pond’.
Nickname for a big eater, from Middle Low German quās meaning "guzzling", "feasting".
Nickname for someone stocky, from Middle High German quader meaning "building stone".
habitational name from any of several places so named in northern Germany. metonymic occupational name for a barber or nickname for someone who wore a conspicuous tassel or feather, from Middle Low German, Middle High German quast(e) "tuft", "tassel", "brush", also "fool".
German family name originating from the town of Quetz (today Quetzdölsdorf).... [more]
Derived from German rabe
"raven". As a surname, it was given to a person with black hair.
Habitational name from any of numerous places called Rabenstein.
Variation of Rademacher, meaning "maker of wheels" in German ("rat" meaning wheel), later shortened to Rader and other variations such as Redder, Raeder, Redler, etc.
Altered spelling of Ravensburger
, a habitational name for someone from Ravensburg in Württemberg, but there are a number of similar surnames, for example Raffenberg, a farm name near Hamm, and Raffsberger.
Nickname for a rough individual, from a North German variant of Rauh
RAISCH German, German (Swiss)
From Middle High German rīsch, rūsch ‘reed’, ‘rush’, hence a topographic name for someone who lived near a reed bed, or perhaps a metonymic occupational name for someone who used or harvested reeds... [more]
Occupational name for a taxman or accountant, from an agent derivative of Middle High German reiten ‘to reckon’, ‘to calculate’.
RANDEL French, German
French: from a pet form of the Germanic personal name Rando
, a short form of various compound names formed with rand
‘(shield) rim’ as the first element. Compare Randall
RANDOLPH English, German
Classicized spelling of Randolf
, a Germanic personal name composed of the elements rand
"rim (of a shield), shield" and wolf
"wolf". This was introduced into England by Scandinavian settlers in the Old Norse form Rannúlfr
, and was reinforced after the Norman Conquest by the Norman form Randolf
RANGE German, French
German: nickname for a ragamuffin, from Middle High German range
‘naughty boy’, ‘urchin’.... [more]
RANGER English, German, French
English: occupational name for a gamekeeper or warden, from Middle English ranger
, an agent derivative of range
(n) ‘to arrange or dispose’.... [more]
From a personal name composed of the Germanic elements rad
"counsel", "advice" + bald
RASCH German, Jewish
Nickname for a quick or rash person from Middle High German, German rasch ‘quick’, ‘hot-headed’, ‘hasty’.
RATHER German, Jewish
1. Occupational name for a counsellor or nickname for a wise person, from Middle High German rater ‘adviser’. ... [more]
From Middle High German ratgebe
or Middle Low German ratgever
"giver of advice, counselor", an occupational name for an adviser or wise man.
Nickname for a ruffian, earlier for a hairy person, from Middle High German ruch
"hairy", "shaggy", "rough".
RÄUBER German, German (Swiss)
German, Swiss German: derogatory nickname, from Middle High German roubære
‘robber’, ‘bandit’, ‘highwayman’ (from roub
Perhaps an occupational nickname for a blacksmith or charcoal burner, from Middle High German rouch
, German Rauch
‘smoke’, or, in the case of the German name, a status name or nickname relating to a hearth tax (i.e. a tax that was calculated according to the number of fireplaces in each individual home).
Probably a habitational name from a place so named in the Rhineland.
RECHT German, Jewish
Nickname for an upright person, from Middle High German reht
, German recht
"straight". As a Jewish name it is mainly of ornamental origin.
Nickname from Middle High German recke ‘outlaw’ or ‘fighter’. North German and Westphalian: from Middle Low German recke ‘marsh’, ‘waterlogged ground’, hence a topographic name, or a habitational name from a place named with this term.
German: possibly a variant of Redmer
, or an occupational name for a spokesman, Middle High German rednære.
Habitational name from places named Reichstein (in Saxony) or Reichenstein (in Rhineland, Schleswig-Holstein, and Württemberg).
From a Germanic personal name, a reduced form of Reinmar, composed of the elements ragin
"counsel" + mari
From a Germanic personal name composed of the elements ragin
"counsel" + bald
Reinking is a German-derived surname meaning "one who is neat and tidy"
REISER German, Upper German
Habitational name for someone from Reis or Reissen in Bavaria (see Reis
). An occupational name from Middle High German reisære
‘warrior’, ‘traveler’. ... [more]
A habitational name for someone from a place called Reisen (for example in Bavaria), Reissen in Thuringia, or Reussen on the Saale river. A variant of Reiser
Also from an agent derivative of Middle High German, Middle Low German rise
‘veil’; perhaps an occupational name for someone who made veils.
RENGEL German (Swiss)
From a pet form of a Germanic personal name formed with rang
"curved", "bending"; "slender".
REPASS German (Swiss)
An Americanization of the Swiss Rippas
. The first recorded person with this surname was from Ziefen, Switzerland.
Variant of Ricward
, from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements ric
‘power(ful)’ + ward
REUSSER Swiss, German, Upper German
In Switzerland, an occupational name for a fisherman or maker of fish traps, from an agent derivative of Middle High German riuse
‘fish trap’, ‘weir basket’. A nickname from an agent noun based on Middle High German riusen
‘to moan or complain’... [more]
May be a variant of the German surname Reisner
, a habitational name for someone from a place called Reisen (for example in Bavaria), Reissen in Thuringia, or Reussen on the Saale river.
From the German name for the River Rhine, denoting somebody whom lived within close proximity to the river. The river name itself comes from a Celtic word meaning 'to flow' (Welsh redan
, 'run, flow').
RHINE German, French, English, Irish
A habitational name for an individual whom lived within close proximity of the River Rhine (see Rhein
). The river name is derived from a Celtic word meaning 'to flow' (Welsh redan
, 'flow').... [more]
RICHERS English, German
From a Germanic personal name composed of the elements ric
‘power(ful)’ + hari
‘army’. The name was introduced into England by the Normans in the form Richier
, but was largely absorbed by the much more common Richard
Patronymic form of Rickel or possibly Richel. May have been derived from any of a number of Old German personal names including Richild (or the feminine form Richeldis) or Richold.
From a short form of any of the Germanic personal names composed with rīc
South German: from a pet form of the personal name Ru(o)diger, a compound of Old High German hrod ‘renown’ + ger ‘spear’, ‘lance’ (see Roger). ... [more]
From Middle High German rigel
"bar, crossbeam, mountain incline", hence a topographic name or a habitational name from any of numerous places named with this word in Baden, Brandenburg, and Silesia; in some instances it may have been a metonymic occupational name for a maker of crossbars, locks, etc.
RIESER Swiss, German
Alemannic form of Reiser
. A habitational name for someone from Ries near Passau. Alemannic variant of Rüsser
, a variant of Reusser
. Altered spelling of Riesser
, a habitational name for someone from Ries(s), a region of Bavaria.
"reed" -- a tall, slender-leaved plant of the grass family that grows in water or on marshy ground.
Probably a metonymic occupational name for a cattle dealer or butcher, from Middle High German rint meaning "cow".
Comes from Germanic
ring "ring" or "assembly" and wald "rule"
RITSCHEL German, History
Derived from Old High German hruod
"fame". This was the maiden name of Magda Goebbels who was the wife of Paul Joseph Goebbels. Her husband was Nazi Germany's propaganda minister between the years 1933 and 1945... [more]
given to a person who resided near a hill, stream, church, or tree
Means "from Rockenfeld." Some famous bearers include founder of the Standard Oil Company and philanthropist John Davison Rockefeller (1839-1937), and 41st Vice President of the U.S.A. Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908-1979).
Possibly a habitational name for someone from Rockau in Thuringia.
ROEBER Low German
Habitational name from a place named Roben, for example in Thuringia or Schleswig. From a Germanic personal name based on hrod
‘renown’, ‘victory’. Low German variant of Räuber
From the Germanic personal name Ruom
(Old High German hruom
‘fame’), a short form of Ruombald
and similar personal names containing this element.
ROHR German, Jewish
Topographic name for someone who lived in an area thickly grown with reeds, from Middle High German ror
. Also a habitational name from one of the several places named with this word.
ROHRBACH German, German (Swiss)
German and Swiss German: habitational name from any of numerous places called Rohrbach (‘reed brook’ or ‘channel brook’) in many parts of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. It is a common surname in Pennsylvania.
ROLAND French, German, Scottish
French, German, English, and Scottish: from a Germanic personal name composed hrod
‘renown’ + -nand
‘bold’, assimilated to -lant
‘land’. (Compare Rowland
English: Composed of the Germanic elements hrod
‘renown’ + wulf
‘wolf’. This name was especially popular among Nordic peoples in the contracted form Hrólfr
and seems to have reached England by two separate channels; partly through its use among pre-Conquest Scandinavian settlers, partly through its popularity among the Normans, who, however, generally used the form Rou
This surname means "son of Rolf
," a patronymic surname from northern Germany.
ROMAN Catalan, French, Polish, English, German, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Belorussian
From the Latin personal name Romanus
, which originally meant "Roman". This name was borne by several saints, including a 7th-century bishop of Rouen.
ROMMEL Upper German, Dutch
Nickname for an obstreperous person, from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch rummeln
to make a noise, create a disturbance (of imitative origin). Variant of Rummel
Meaning uncertain. This was the name of German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923) who discovered and studied x-rays. Röntgen called the radiation "X" because it was an unknown type of radiation... [more]
Habitational name for someone who lived at a house distinguished by the sign of a rosebush, Middle High German rōsenboum
ROSENTHAL German, Jewish
name for any of numerous places named rosenthal or rosendahl. means " rose valley"
German: topographic name for "someone who lived at a place where wild roses grew" (see Rose 1), with the suffix -er denoting an inhabitant.German (Röser): habitational name from places called Rös, Roes, or Rösa in Bavaria, Rhineland, and Saxony, or a variant of Rosser.Swiss German (Röser): from a short form of a Germanic personal name based on hrod "renown".English: "unexplained".
The original spelling of the name is Roßhart. Roß means "horse" and hart means "hard" in German. The name was changed when the family immigrated to the United States in the 1850's. Some took on the name "Rosshart", and some "Roszhart" as the ß has the "sss" sound.
Middle High German rot "red" + vuoz "foot", a nickname for someone who followed the fashion for shoes made from a type of fine reddish leather. Or a variant of Rotfuchs
, from the Middle Low German form fos "fox", a nickname for a clever person.
As far as I've researched the name dates back to a man by the name of Count Palatine Kuno von Rott (~1083). After he got land from the Pfalzfrafs which seem to be a nobile family line.... [more]
Modernization of Rotscheidt, also a city in Germany (Rottscheidt) bearing another modern alternate spelling. When broken down it ultimately means "red" and "piece of wood", implying that the families of today descends from woodwrokers.
This surname was originally used as a derogative nickname for an unscrupulous individual, from Middle Low German rover
meaning "pirate, robber."
ROVER English, German (Anglicized)
This surname is derived from Middle English roof
(from Old English hrof
) combined with the agent suffix (i)er
, which denotes someone who does/works with something. Thus, the surname was originally used for a constructor or repairer of roofs.... [more]
RUCH German (Swiss)
It was originally a nickname for a greedy person, from Middle High German ruoch ‘eager,’ ‘intent.’... [more]
Middle High German: nickname rucken
"to move or draw". North German: nickname from Middle Low German rucker "thief", "greedy or acquisitive person". German: from a reduced form of the Germanic personal name Rudiger
From a Germanic personal name based on hrok
"intent", "eager" (Old High German ruoh
RUDAT German (East Prussian)
East Prussian German (and thus heavily Lithuanian influenced) name meaning "russet; auburn; reddish brown", derived from Old Prussian ruds
and Lithuanian rudas
From a personal name composed of Old High German hrōd
"renown" and wolf
"wolf", equivalent to English Ralph
. This name is also found in Slovenia.
Nickname from Middle High German ruowe
‘quiet’, ‘calm’ or Low German rug
‘rough’, ‘crude’.... [more]
Variant of Ruge
) is also a nickname from Rüde
‘hound.’ Habitational name from places named Rühen, Rüden, Rhüden in northern Germany.
This name is possibly a derivative of the German
word for "envelope" which is spelled 'Umschlag'.
RUTH English, German (Swiss)
English: from Middle English reuthe ‘pity’ (a derivative of rewen to pity, Old English hreowan) nickname for a charitable person or for a pitiable one. Not related to the given name in this case.... [more]
RYDÉN German, Swedish
Can come from the island Rügen in Germany. Bengt Rydén was the cheif editor at a Swedish magazine called Veckans Affärer.
RYNE German (Swiss)
Respelling of Swiss German Rhyn
, a topographic name for someone living on the Rhine river, Middle High German Rin
Nickname for someone perceived to lead a carefree, easy life, from Middle Low German sacht(e) meaning "soft" + leben meaning "life".
Occupational name from Middle High German sacman meaning "baggage servant", one who was in charge of transporting and looking after a knight’s baggage and supplies on campaign.
SADAT German (Rare)
The last name Sadat means "master" and "gentleman," and is originally a religious last name which was popular in the west, more precisely in Germany.
SAENGER German, Jewish
Occupational name for a chorister or a nickname for someone who liked singing, from Middle High German senger, German Sänger meaning "singer".
It is derived from the German words (Salz) meaning "salt", & (Salweide) meaning "water".
SALZMANN German, Jewish
Occupational name for a producer or seller of salt, from German salz
"salt" + mann
SAUER German, Jewish
Nickname for an embittered or cantankerous person, from Middle High German sur
, German sauer
Occupational nickname for someone who sold sour wine, or perhaps a nickname for someone with a sour disposition, from Middle High German sur
"sour" + win
"wine", i.e. vinegar.