Submitted names are contributed by users of this website. The accuracy of these name definitions cannot be guaranteed.
OsterreicherGerman I was told that this surname in native Austria originates as follows. Oster means East, reich means kingdom, with er meaning native of. In old Austria there were six kingdoms, with the East one being the largest with the seat of government there... [more]
OtteGerman Otte was given to someone who lived in Bavaria, where the name came from humble beginnings but gained a significant reputation for its contribution to the emerging medieval society. The name Otte evolved from the Old German personal name Ott, a name of Emperors, made famous by Otto the Great (912-973), Holy Roman emperor.
OverholserGerman (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.
PachGerman Pach is an occupational hereditary surname for a baker in Old German. Pach is also a German local name for someone who lived by a stream, which was originally derived from the German word "bach" which means stream... [more]
PainterEnglish, 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]
PallmannGerman 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".
PankratzGerman (East Prussian) The name originated in Holland, as a surname chosen in 1811 when Napoleon insisted that all Dutch people have permanent surnames passed down to children. This particular family chose the name of a venerated saint - Saint Pancras, the patron saint of children... [more]
ParduhnGerman 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).
PaschGerman 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’.
PechmanGerman "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.
PeikGerman From Middle Low German pek ‘sharp, pointed tool or weapon’.
PeiperGerman (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.
PinkEnglish, German Nickname, possibly for a small person, from Middle English pink penkg ‘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]
PinnEnglish, German Derived from Middle English pin and Middle Low German pinne, both meaning "peg" or "pin". This was an occupational name from a maker of these things. The German name can in some cases be an occupational name for a shoemaker.
PinskerGerman, Prussian Habitational name from any of several places named near Posen (Polish Poznan) and in West Prussia.
PionkeGerman, Polish Germanized form of Slavic Pinoek, which is a nickname from pionek ‘puppet’.
PitcherEnglish, German From an agent derivative of Middle English pich ‘pitch’, hence an occupational name for a caulker, one who sealed the seams of ships or barrels with pitch. English variant of Pickard... [more]
PitsenbargerGerman Probably an altered spelling of Bezzenberger, which is derived from Boizenburg, a municipality in the Ludwigslust-Parchim district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
PlumEnglish, 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]
PlumerGerman, 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]
PobanzGerman Nickname for a braggart or bogeyman, of uncertain Slavic origin.
PoehlerGerman German (Westphalian): topographic name for someone who lived by a muddy pool, from an agent noun derived from Middle Low pol ‘(muddy) pool’.
PoelzerGerman 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).
PohGerman From a dialect word for standard German Pfau ‘peacok’, a nickname for a vain person or for someone with a strutting gait.
PolandEnglish, 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]
PomerantzGerman 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.
PreüssGerman (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]
ProphetEnglish, 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]
PulowGerman Pulow is the name of a small village in the northeast of Germany. There is also a lake with the same name.
PunkeGerman Unexplained; possibly an altered form of Bunke, from a Middle Low German personal name.
PuschGerman Name for someone who lived near bushes or a thicket. The distinguished name Pusch is derived from the Old German word busc, which means thicket or brush.
PuschatGerman (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.
PüttGerman 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’.
PutzGerman German for "plaster". Likely used to denote someone who manufactured plaster
QuaasGerman Nickname for a big eater, from Middle Low German quās meaning "guzzling", "feasting".
QuastGerman 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".
RadlerGerman Occupational name, which was derived from the kind of work done by the original bearer. It is a name for a wheelmaker or wheelwright. The name stems from the German noun rat, meaning wheel. The origin is more clear in the variant Rademacher
RaffenspergerGerman Altered spelling of Ravensburger or Ravensberger, 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.
RaischGerman, 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]
RampGerman (Swiss) German and Swiss German: variant of Rampf, from Middle High German ramft, ranft ‘edge’, ‘wall’, ‘crust (of bread)’; applied as a topographic name for someone who lived at the limit or outer edge of some feature, for example a field, or possibly, in the sense ‘crust’, a nickname for a poor person.
RandelFrench, 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... [more]
RandlemanGerman Diminutive of the personal name Rand, a short form of various German names with the first element rand meaning shield or wolf.
RandolphEnglish, 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.
RappoldGerman From a personal name composed of the Germanic elements rad "counsel", "advice" + bald "bold", "brave".
RathGerman 1 German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): descriptive epithet for a wise person or counselor, from Middle High German rāt ‘counsel’, ‘advice’, German Rat ‘counsel’, ‘advice’, also ‘stock’, ‘supply’.... [more]
RatherGerman, Jewish 1. Occupational name for a counsellor or nickname for a wise person, from Middle High German rater ‘adviser’. ... [more]
RauGerman Nickname for a ruffian, earlier for a hairy person, from Middle High German ruch, ruhe, rouch "hairy", "shaggy", "rough".
RäuberGerman, German (Swiss) German, Swiss German: derogatory nickname, from Middle High German roubære ‘robber’, ‘bandit’, ‘highwayman’ (from roub, roup ‘booty’, ‘spoils’).
RauchGerman 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).
RaudabaughGerman (Americanized) Raudabaugh is a German-Americanized surname of Reidenbach. People include Dan Raudabaugh (American Football coach) and Dave Raudabaugh (Outlaw who was an acquaintance to Billy the kid).
RauschGerman Nickname for a noisy person, derived from ruschen, meaning "to make a noise" in Middle High German. ... [more]
RavelingGerman nickname or patronymic from Middle Low German rave(n) ‘raven’
RaylGerman Variant of Rehl, which it's meaning is probably a habitational name from Rehl in Rhineland or Rehlen in East Prussia.
RechtGerman Probably a habitational name from a place so named in the Rhineland.
RechtGerman, Jewish Nickname for an upright person, from Middle High German reht, German recht "straight". As a Jewish name it is mainly of ornamental origin.
ReckGerman 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.
ReichenbergGerman, Jewish Habitational name from various places named Reichenberg in several different areas of Germany. As an ornamental name, it is composed of German reich(en) meaning "rich" and berg meaning "mountain, hill".
ReinkingGerman Reinking is a German-derived surname meaning "one who is neat and tidy"
ReiseGerman, Jewish German (Westphalia) topographic name, from Middle Low German ris, res ‘swamp’. ... [more]
ReisenauerGerman Probably denoted a person from a minor place called Reisenau, or a topographic name for someone living by an overgrown water meadow, derived from Middle High German ris meaning "undergrowth" and owe meaning "water meadow".
ReiserGerman, 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]
ReisnerGerman 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.
ReusDutch, German, Catalan Dutch: nickname for a big man, from Middle Dutch reuse(n) 'giant'. German: topographic name from Middle High German riuse 'fish trap' (Middle Low German ruse) or from a regional term reuse 'small stream', 'channel'... [more]
ReusserSwiss, 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]
ReznorGerman 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.
RheinGerman 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').
RhineGerman, 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]
RhotonGerman, French Rhoton is a German and French surname from the 1800s. Some people believe that it is derived from the French word for red, but the origin is overall unknown. The name represents strength and power.
RichersEnglish, German From a Germanic personal name composed of the elements ric ‘power(ful)’ + hari, heri ‘army’. The name was introduced into England by the Normans in the form Richier, but was largely absorbed by the much more common Richard... [more]
RidingerGerman A habitational name for someone from a place named Riding or Rieding. It is also possibly an altered spelling of Reitinger, a topographic name from Reit(e), which means ‘clearing’ (Old High German riuti).
RiedemannGerman Either a habitational name derived from places named Ried or Riede, or a topographic name derived from Low German Riede "rivulet".
RiegelGerman 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.
RitschelGerman, 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]
RockefellerGerman 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).
RockmanGerman Possibly a habitational name for someone from Rockau in Thuringia.
RohmeGerman From the Germanic personal name Ruom (Old High German hruom ‘fame’), a short form of Ruombald and similar personal names containing this element.
RohrGerman, 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.
RohrbachGerman, 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.