Old High German Origin Surnames

This is a list of surnames in which the origin is Old High German. Old High German was a West Germanic language spoken in southern Germany.
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ACKER German, English
Denoted a person who lived near a field, derived from Middle English aker or Middle High German acker meaning "field".
ACKERMAN English
Means "ploughman", derived from Middle English aker "field" and man.
ACKERMANN German
Denoted a person who lived near a field, from Middle High German acker "field" and man "man".
AHLBERG Swedish
Ornamental name derived from Swedish al "alder" and berg "mountain".
ÅKERMAN Swedish
Swedish form of ACKERMANN.
AKERS English
Variant of ACKER.
AKKER Dutch
Dutch form of ACKER.
AKKERMAN Dutch
Dutch form of ACKERMANN.
AKKERMANS Dutch
Dutch form of ACKERMANN.
ALDERSHOF Dutch
Means "Aldert's courtyard" from the given name ALDERT combined with Dutch hof "garden, courtyard".
ALTHAUS German
Name for a person dwelled in or by an old house, from German alt "old" and haus "house".
ANKER Dutch, Danish, Norwegian
Metonymic surname for a sailor, meaning "anchor" in Dutch, Danish and Norwegian.
APPELHOF Dutch
Indicated a person who lived by or at an apple garden, from Dutch appel "apple" and hof "garden, courtyard".
ARBEID Dutch
From Dutch arbeid meaning "work".
ARBEIDER Dutch
From Dutch arbeider meaning "worker".
ARBEIT German
From German arbeit meaning "work".
ARKWRIGHT English
Occupational name meaning "chest maker", from Middle English arc meaning "chest, coffer" and wyrhta meaning "maker, craftsman".
ASSENBERG Dutch
From Dutch es meaning "ash tree" (plural essen) and berg meaning "mountain".
ASSENDORP Dutch
From the name of a place called Assendorp, composed of Dutch essen and dorp, meaning "ash tree village".
ASTON (1) English
From a place name meaning "east town" in Old English.
ATWATER English
From Middle English meaning "dweller at the water".
BACH German
Topographic name for someone who lived by a stream, from Middle High German bach meaning "stream". This name was borne by members of the Bach musical family, notably the composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).
BACHMAN German
Anglicized form of BACHMANN.
BACHMANN German
Denoted a person who lived near a stream, from German bach "stream" and mann "man".
BACHMEIER German
Originally referred to a farmer whose farm was beside a stream, from Middle High German bach "stream" and meier "steward, tenant farmer".
BÄCKER German
Variant of BECKER, mostly found in northern Germany.
BAGER Danish
Danish cognate of BAKER.
BAKER English
Occupational name meaning "baker", derived from Middle English bakere.
BAKKER Dutch
Dutch cognate of BAKER, from Middle Dutch backer.
BAUER German
From Old High German bur meaning "peasant, farmer".
BAUERS German
Variant of BAUER.
BAUM German, Jewish
Means "tree" in German.
BAUMANN German, Jewish
From Middle High German bumann meaning "farmer, builder".
BAUMBACH German
From a place name meaning "tree stream" in German.
BAUMER German
Variant of BAUM.
BAUMGARTNER German
Occupational name for a person who worked or lived at an orchard, from German Baumgarten "orchard" (derived from Baum "tree" and Garten "garden").
BAUMHAUER German
Occupational name meaning "woodcutter", derived from German Baum "tree" and hauen "to chop".
BAXTER English
Variant (in origin a feminine form) of BAKER.
BEAN English
English cognate of BOHN.
BECK (1) English, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
Cognate of BACH, from Middle English bekke (from Old Norse), Low German beke or Old Norse bekkr all meaning "stream".
BECK (2) German
Variant of BECKER, from southern German beck.
BECKENBAUER German
Means "farmer living by a stream" in German.
BECKER German
Derived from Middle High German becker meaning "baker".
BECKERT German
Variant of BECKER.
BECKETT English
Originally a diminutive of BECK (1) or BECK (3).
BEITEL German
Variant of BEUTEL.
BERG German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From a Germanic word meaning "mountain".
BERGFALK Swedish
Derived from Swedish berg "mountain" and falk "falcon".
BERGLUND Swedish
Ornamental name from Swedish berg "mountain" and lund "grove".
BERGMAN Swedish
From Swedish berg "mountain" and man "man", originally a name for a person living on a mountain.
BERGSTRÖM Swedish
Derived from Swedish berg "mountain" and ström "stream".
BEUMER Dutch
Possibly a Dutch form of BAUMER or BÖHMER.
BEUMERS Dutch
Possibly a Dutch form of BAUMER or BÖHMER.
BEUTEL German
From Middle High German biutel meaning "bag", originally belonging to a person who made or sold bags.
BEYERSDORF German
Means "farmers village", from German Bauer meaning "farmer" and Dorf meaning "village".
BLAU German
Means "blue" in German, most likely used to refer to a person who wore blue clothes.
BLOM Swedish
Means "bloom, flower" in Swedish.
BLOMGREN Swedish
From Swedish blomma meaning "flower" and gren meaning "branch".
BLUE English
From a nickname for a person with blue eyes or blue clothing.
BLUM German, Jewish
Means "flower" in German and Yiddish.
BLUMENTHAL German, Jewish
Derived from German Blumen "flowers" and Thal "valley".
BLUMSTEIN Jewish
Ornamental name meaning "flower stone" in German.
BOATWRIGHT English
Occupational name meaning "maker of boats".
BOER Dutch
Dutch form of BAUER.
BOGNÁR Hungarian
Hungarian form of WAGNER.
BOHN German
Occupational name for a bean grower, derived from Middle High German bone "bean".
BOON (3) Dutch
Dutch cognate of BOHN.
BOSCH (1) Dutch, Low German
Derived from Middle Dutch bosch meaning "wood, forest".
BOSCH (2) Catalan
Catalan cognate of BOSCO.
BOSCO Italian
Means "forest" in Italian.
BOSQUE Spanish
Spanish form of BOSCO.
BOYCE English
From Old French bois meaning "wood", originally given to someone who lived by or in a wood.
BRADDOCK English
From various locations derived from Old English meaning "broad oak".
BRADFORD English
Derived from the name of the city of Bradford in West Yorkshire, which meant "broad ford" in Old English. This is also the name of other smaller towns in England.
BRADLEY English
From a common English place name, derived from brad "broad" and leah "woodland, clearing".
BRAUER Low German
Derived from Middle Low German bruwer meaning "brewer".
BRAUN German
Variant of BRUN.
BRAUNE German
Variant of BRUN.
BREITBARTH German
From Old High German breit "broad" and bart "beard", originally a nickname for someone with a full beard.
BREWER English
Occupational name for a maker of ale or beer.
BREWSTER English
Variant of BREWER, originally a feminine form of the occupational term.
BROADBENT English
From a place name derived from Old English brad "broad" and beonet "bent grass".
BRUHN German
Variant of BRUN.
BRUN German
From Middle High German brun meaning "brown". It was originally a nickname for a person who had brown hair or skin.
BRUNE German
Variant of BRUN.
BUCHHOLZ German
From Middle High German buoche "beech" and holz "wood".
BUHR Low German
Low German form of BAUER.
BURGSTALLER German
From German Burg "fortress, castle" and Stelle "place, position". This was a name given to a person dwelling at or near such a site.
BUSCH German
Means "bush" in German, a name for someone who lived close to a thicket.
BUSH English
Originally a name for a person who lived near a prominent bush or thicket.
CARTWRIGHT English
Occupational name indicating one who made carts.
CAULFIELD English
From a place name meaning "cold field", from Old English ceald "cold" and feld "pasture, field".
CLINE German, Jewish
Anglicized spelling of KLEIN.
DAM Dutch, Danish
Means "dike, dam" in Dutch and Danish. In modern Danish it also means "pond".
DAUBE German
Variant of TAUBE.
DE GROOT Dutch
From Dutch groot meaning "big, great".
DEL BOSQUE Spanish
Means "of the forest" in Spanish.
DIEFENBACH German
From a German place name meaning "deep creek".
DREHER German
Means "turner" from Middle High German drehen "to turn". A turner was a person who used a lathe to create small objects from wood or bone.
DREIER German
Variant of DREHER.
DRESCHNER German
Derived from Middle High German dreschen "to thresh". A thresher was a person who separated the grains from a cereal plant by beating it.
DRESSLER German
Means "turner" from Middle High German dreseler, an agent derivative of drehen "to turn". A turner was a person who used a lathe to create small objects from wood or bone.
DREYER German
Variant of DREHER.
DUBOIS French
Means "from the forest", from French bois "forest".
DUERR German
Variant of DÜRR.
DÜRR German
Means "thin" in German.
EASTON English
From the name of various places meaning "east town" in Old English.
ECKSTEIN German
From Old High German ecka meaning "edge, corner" and stein meaning "stone".
EICHEL German
Means "acorn" in German, indicating a person who lived near an oak tree.
EIKENBOOM Dutch
Means "oak tree", from Dutch eik "oak" and boom "tree".
EK Swedish
Means "oak" in Swedish.
EKLUND Swedish
From Swedish ek "oak" and lund "grove".
ENGBERG Swedish
Ornamental name derived from Swedish äng "meadow" and berg "mountain".
ESSER German
Means "cartwright", related to Old High German ahsa "axle".
ESSERT German
Variant of ESSER.
FAIRBURN English
From a place name meaning "fern stream", from Old English fearn "fern" and burna "stream".
FÄRBER German
Occupational name meaning "dyer", derived from German Farbe "colour".
FARNHAM English
Indicated a person from any of the various towns named Farnham in England, notably in Surrey. Their names are from Old English fearn "fern" and ham "home, settlement" or ham "water meadow, enclosure".
FEIGENBAUM German, Jewish
Means "fig tree" in German.
FELD German, Jewish
Means "field" in German. The name was originally given to someone who lived on land cleared of forest.
FELDT German, Danish, Swedish
North German, Danish and Swedish variant of FELD.
FENN English
From a name for someone who dwelt near a marsh, from Old English fenn meaning "fen, swamp, bog".
FERBER German
Variant of FÄRBER.
FIDDLER English
English form of FIEDLER.
FIEDLER German
Means "fiddler" in German.
FIELDS English
Name for a person who lived on or near a field or pasture, from Old English feld.
FISCHER German
Occupational name meaning "fisherman" in German.
FORNEY German
Name for someone who lived near ferns, from Old High German farn "fern".
FORSBERG Swedish
Derived from Swedish fors "waterfall" and berg "mountain".
FORST German
Derived from Old High German forst "forest". Probably unrelated to the Old French word forest, which was derived from Latin, Old High German forst was derived from foraha meaning "fir tree".
FÖRSTNER German
Denoted a keeper or one in charge of a forest (see FORST).
FOX English
From the name of the animal. It was originally a nickname for a person with red hair or a crafty person.
FREEMAN English
Referred to a person who was born free, or in other words was not a serf.
FREI German
Means "free" in German, probably referring to someone outside the feudal system.
FREUD German, Jewish
Means "joy" in German, a nickname for a cheerful person. A famous bearer was the psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).
FREUDENBERGER German, Jewish
Ornamental name from old German freud meaning "joy" and berg meaning "mountain".
FROST English, German
From Old English and Old High German meaning "frost", a nickname for a person who had a cold personality or a white beard.
FRY English
From Old English frig (a variant of freo) meaning "free".
FRYE English
Variant of FRY.
FUCHS German
From Old High German fuhs meaning "fox". It was originally a nickname for a person with red hair.
FUHRMANN German
Derived from Middle High German vuorman meaning "cartwright".
FULTON English
From the name of the English town of Foulden, Norfolk, meaning "bird hill" in Old English.
FUX German
Variant of FUCHS.
GARB German
Variant of GARBER.
GARBER German
Variant of GERBER.
GARVER German
Variant of GERBER.
GEISSLER German
Occupational name for a goat herder, from southern German Geiss meaning "goat" and the suffix ler signifying an occupation.
GERBER German
Means "tanner, leather dresser" in German, derived from Old High German garawen meaning "to prepare".
GERST German
Occupational name for a barley farmer, derived from Old High German gersta "barley".
GERSTLE German
Variant of GERST.
GERVER German
Variant of GERBER.
GLAS German, Dutch
German and Dutch cognate of GLASS.
GLASS English, German
From Old English glæs or Old High German glas meaning "glass". This was an occupational name for a glass blower or glazier.
GOLDHIRSCH Jewish
Means "golden stag" in Yiddish.
GOLDSCHMIDT German
Occupational name meaning "goldsmith" in German.
GRAF German
From the German noble title Graf meaning "count", ultimately from Greek γραφευς (grapheus) meaning "scribe".
GRAVES English
Occupational name for a steward, derived from Middle English greyve, related to the German title Graf.
GREENBERG German, Jewish
Anglicized form of GRÜNBERG.
GRIEVE Scottish
Occupational name meaning "steward, farm manager" in Middle English, related to the German title Graf.
GROOS German
Variant of GROß.
GROS French
Means "thick, fat, big" in French, from Late Latin grossus, possibly of Germanic origin.
GROSS German
Variant of GROß.
GROß German
From Old High German groz meaning "tall, big".
GROßE German
Variant of GROß.
GROSSE German
Variant of GROß.
GRÖßEL German
Variant of GROß, used in southern Germany.
GROßEL German
Variant of GROß, used in southern Germany.
GROßER German
Variant of GROß.
GROSSER German
Variant of GROß.
GROSSI Italian
Italian cognate of GROS.
GROSSO Italian
Italian cognate of GROS.
GRÓSZ Hungarian
Hungarian form of GROß.
GRÜNBERG German, Jewish
From German grün "green" and Berg "mountain". This name indicated a person who lived on or near a forest-covered mountain.
GRÜNEWALD German
Means "green forest" from German grün "green" and Wald "forest".
HAAS Dutch, German
Variant of HASE.
HAASE German
Variant of HASE.
HABER German, Jewish
Occupational name for one who grew or sold oats, derived from Old High German habaro "oat". As a Jewish surname it is ornamental.
HABERKORN German
Occupational name for a dealer in oats, derived from Old High German habaro "oat" and korn "kernel, grain".
HABICH German
German cognate of HAWK.
HABICHT German
German cognate of HAWK.
HAFNER German
Occupational name for a potter, derived from Old High German havan "pot, vessel".
HANLEY English
From various English place names meaning "high meadow" in Old English.
HARDEN English
From a place name meaning "hare valley" in Old English.
HARLAND English
From various place names meaning "hare land" in Old English.
HARLEY English
Derived from a place name meaning "hare clearing", from Old English hara "hare" and leah "woodland, clearing".
HASE German
From Middle High German and Middle Low German hase meaning "hare, rabbit". This was a nickname for a person who was quick or timid.
HASENKAMP German
From a northern German place name meaning "rabbit field", from Old Saxon haso "hare" and kamp "field" (from Latin campus).
HATHAWAY English
Habitational name for someone who lived near a path across a heath, from Old English hæþ "heath" and weg "way".
HAUER German
Derived from Middle High German houwen "to chop", referring to a butcher or woodchopper.
HAUMANN German
Derived from Middle High German houwen "to chop" and man "man", referring to a butcher or woodchopper.
HAUPT German
German cognate of HEAD.
HÄUSLER German
Name for someone who lived in a house with no land, derived rom Old High German word hus meaning "house".
HAVENER German
Variant of HAFNER.
HAWK English
Originally a nickname for a person who had a hawk-like appearance or who acted in a fierce manner, derived from Old English heafoc "hawk".
HAWKING English
From a diminutive of HAWK. A famous bearer was the British physicist Stephen Hawking (1942-2018).
HAWKINS English
From a diminutive of HAWK.
HAYTER English
Name for a person who lived on a hill, from Middle English heyt meaning "height".
HEAD English
From Middle English hed meaning "head", from Old English heafod. It may have referred to a person who had a peculiar head, who lived near the head of a river or valley, or who served as the village headman.
HEEREN Dutch
From Dutch heer "lord, master", a nickname for a person who acted like a lord or who worked for a lord.
HEPBURN English, Scottish
From northern English place names meaning "high burial mound" in Old English. It was borne by Mary Queen of Scot's infamous third husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwall. Other famous bearers include the actresses Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) and Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
HERCEG Croatian
Croatian form of HERZOG.
HERCZEG Hungarian
Hungarian form of HERZOG.
HERCZOG Hungarian
Hungarian form of HERZOG.
HERREMA Frisian
Frisian variant of HEEREN.
HERSCHEL German, Jewish
Diminutive form of HIRSCH (1) or HIRSCH (2). A famous bearer was the British-German astronomer William Herschel (1738-1822), as well as his sister Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) and son John Herschel (1792-1871), also noted scientists.
HERZOG German
From a German title meaning "duke", a nickname for a person who either acted like a duke or worked in a duke's household.
HIGHTOWER English
Possibly a variant of HAYTER.
HIRSCH (1) German
Means "deer, hart" in German. This was a nickname for a person who resembled a deer in some way, or who raised or hunted deer.
HIRSCH (2) Jewish
Derived from the given name HIRSH.
HIRSCHEL German, Jewish
Diminutive form of HIRSCH (1) or HIRSCH (2).
HOCH German
Means "tall" in German.
HOCHBERG German, Jewish
From place names meaning "high hill" in German.
HOEDEMAKER Dutch
Occupational name for a hat maker, from Dutch hoed "hat" and maker "maker".
HOEFLER German
Variant of HOFER.
HOFER German
Occupational name for a farmer, from German Hof "farm", from Old High German hof "house, estate, courtyard".
HOFFMANN German
From Middle High German hofmann meaning "farmer".
HÖFLER German
Variant of HOFER.
HOFMEISTER German
Means "master of the household", from Old High German hof "house, estate, courtyard" and meistar "master" (from Latin magister).
HOLTZ German
German cognate of HOLT.
HÖLZER German
German cognate of HOLT.
HOLZER German
German cognate of HOLT.
HOLZKNECHT German
Occupational name for a forester's helper, from Old High German holz "wood" and kneht "servant, apprentice".
HOLZMANN German
Derived from Old High German holz "wood" and man "man", a name for someone who lived close to a wood or worked with wood.
HOOVER German (Anglicized)
Americanized form of HUBER.
HORN English, German, Norwegian, Danish
From the Germanic word horn meaning "horn". This was an occupational name for one who carved objects out of horn or who played a horn, or a person who lived near a horn-shaped geographical feature, such as a mountain or a bend in a river.
HORNE English
Variant of HORN.
HÜBER German
Variant of HUBER.
HUBER German
Occupational name for a farmer, derived from Old High German huoba "plot of land, farm".
HUMMEL (2) German, Dutch
Nickname for a busy person, from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch hommel, Middle High German hummel, all meaning "bee".
HURST English
Originally a name for a person who lived near a thicket of trees, from Old English hyrst "thicket".
HUTMACHER German
German cognate of HOEDEMAKER.
HYLAND (1) English
Topographic name meaning "high land", from Old English heah and land.
JAEGER German
Variant of JÄGER.
JÄGER German
Means "hunter" in German, from Old High German jagon meaning "to hunt".
JAGER German
Variant of JÄGER.
JUNG German
Means "young" in German, from Middle High German junc.
JUNGE German
Variant of JUNG.
KALMÁR Hungarian
Occupational name meaning "merchant, shopkeeper" in Hungarian, of German origin.
KÄSTNER German
Means "cabinet maker", derived from Middle High German kaste "box".
KÄUFER German
Variant of KAUFER.
KAUFER German
Means "trader" in German.
KAUFMANN German, Jewish
Means "trader, merchant" in German.
KEMP English
Derived from Middle English kempe meaning "champion, warrior".
KEMPF German
German cognate of KEMP.
KERPER German
Variant of GERBER.
KIEFER (2) German
Occupational name for a barrel maker, derived from Old High German kuofa meaning "barrel".
KING English
From Old English cyning "king", originally a nickname for someone who either acted in a kingly manner or who worked for or was otherwise associated with a king.
KIRCH German
German cognate of CHURCH.
KISTLER German
Occupational name meaning "chest maker, cabinetmaker" from Middle High German kiste.
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-).
KNEPP German
Variant of KNOPF.
KNEŽEVIĆ Croatian, Serbian
Patronymic of Serbo-Croatian knez meaning "prince" (ultimately of Germanic origin).
KNIGHT English
From Old English cniht meaning "knight", a tenant serving as a mounted soldier.
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.