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How did German people get their names?

Directory of German Names

IF you want to see if your last name is in the list below, then hold down the ctrl key and the f key on your computer and type your name in the box that appears.

Names derived from profession of first bearer

Arzt - doctor;

Bader - barber:

Bauer -farmer;

Bauman(n) - builder;

Becker - baker;

Brenner - distiller;

Brauer, brower, brewster;- brewer,

Eisenhauer, Eisenhower - iron cutter, miner;

Farber - painter;

Fischer - fisher;

Fleischer - butcher;

Gebauer - peasant or tiller of the field;

Gerber - tanner;

Kellerman - worker or dweller in a wine cellar or tavern;

Kessler - coppersmith, own who sold or made kettles;

Kramer - merchant;

Krieg, Krieger - war, warrior, in Yiddish could mean tavern keeper;

Kuster (Kuester) - sexton,

Kunstler - artist or skilled artisan;

Lederer, Lederman(n) - leather maker, tanner;

Lehrer - teacher;

Lesser - custodian of a forest, game keeper;

Lichtermann - one who lit lamps, lamplighter;

Lichtman - candle maker;

Maurer - stone mason;

Mehler (Mahler) - painter;

Mehlinger, Mehlman(n), Melman - one who works with flour;

Metzger - butcher;

Muller - miller;

Nachtman(n) - night watchman;

Pfannnenschmidt - maker of pots and pans;

Postman(n) - postal worker, (also a person from Postau);

Puttkam(m)er - person who cleans rooms;

Rader - wheelwright, one who makes wheels; or a person from Raden (moor, reedy place), one who thatched with reed;

Reifsneider, Reifsnyder - one who made barrel hops;

Reiter - horseman, also one who cleared land for tilling;

Richter - judge or magistrate;

Saltz, Saltzman(n) - one who processed and sold salt;

Sandler - one who carts sand, repairs shoes, a cobbler;

Schafer (German with Umlaut) was a sheperd;

Schenker - one who kept a public house;

Scherer - one who shaved others, a barber;

Schlosser - lock smith;

Schluter Schlueter, Schluter (with Umlaut) - the keeper of supplies;

Schmidt - smith; (Blacksmith)

Schmuker, Schmu(c)kler - one who decorates, ornaments;

Schneider and Schroeder - tailor;

Schultz, Schultheis - village mayor;

Schreiber - secretary or scribe;

Schreiner - cabinet maker;

Schubert - one who made or sold shoes;

Schulman(n) - school or synagogue man;

Schumacher, Schu(h)man(n), Schuster - shoe maker, cobbler;

Steinhauer - one who cuts and breaks stone;

Studebaker - one who prepared or sold pastries;

Wagner - wagoner, wagon maker;

Weber - weaver;

Wechsler - money changer

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References;

 

From the Max Kade Center's Teaching Unit: GERMAN-AMERICANS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE AMERICAN MAINSTREAM CULTURE: GERMAN NAMES AND WORDS http://www-lib.iupui.edu/kade

 

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Links and Books

German Geneology, Names and Culture

Dictionary of German Names

German-American Names 2nd Edition

German-English Genealogical Dictionary


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Last updated March 1, 2006