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German Family History

German Surname Meaning

English: ethnic name from Old French germain ‘German’ (from Latin Germanus). This sometimes denoted an actual immigrant from Germany but was also used to refer to a person who had trade or other connections with German-speaking lands. The Latin word Germanus is of obscure and disputed origin; the most plausible of the etymologies that have been proposed is that the people were originally known as the ‘spear-men’ with ancient Germanic gēr gār ‘spear’ as the first element. Spanish and Hungarian (Germán); English (of Norman origin) and German: from the personal name Spanish and Hungarian Germán Old French Germain German German from Latin Germanus (see Germain ) a Christian saint's name. Americanized form of German Germann 1 a name of ancient Germanic origin. Ukrainian and Rusyn (also from Slovakia and Poland): from the personal name German which can be from both Latin Germanus (see Germain compare 2 above) and German Hermann (compare 5 below). Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): variant of Herman or Hermann originating under Russian influence since Russian has no h and alters it to g in borrowed words and names. In some cases possibly also an American shortened form of Greek Germanos: from the personal name Germanos (see Germain ) bestowed in honor of several saints of the Eastern Church in particular Saint Germanos from the 8th century liturgical poet and patriarch of Constantinople.7: Italianized form of Slovenian and Croatian Jerman .

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022

Similar surnames: Germain, Gorman, Perman, Berman, Derman, Herman, Jerman, Gurman

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Where is the German family from?

You can see how German families moved over time by selecting different census years. The German family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most German families were found in USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 218 German families living in Lancashire. This was about 14% of all the recorded German's in United Kingdom. Lancashire had the highest population of German families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the German surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your German ancestors do for a living?

In 1939, General Labourer and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the United Kingdom named German. 10% of German men worked as a General Labourer and 72% of German women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named German were Postman and Domestic Duties. .

View Census Data for German | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1939

  • General Labourer
  • Farm Labourer
  • Farmer
  • Postman

Top Female Occupations In 1939

  • Unpaid Domestic Duties
  • Housewife
  • Private Means
  • Domestic Duties
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What German family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 102,000 census records available for the last name German. Like a window into their day-to-day life, German census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search UK census records for German

Passenger Lists

There are 16,000 immigration records available for the last name German. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the UK, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all German immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 89,000 military records available for the last name German. For the veterans among your German ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average German lifespan?

Between 1949 and 2004, in the United States, German life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1952, and highest in 2000. The average life expectancy for German in 1949 was 49, and 75 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for German

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