Most Common German Last Names By Meanings, Trait and Region

Common German Last Names – Do you recognize any?


German last names are an interesting bunch purely based on how they came about. Almost all German surnames are based on an occupation, a trait or a place. This leads to some pretty self-explanatory surnames. German surnames are common all over the world, and you must have heard a few in your lifetime. There are several famous and notable figures that bear German surnames, from celebrities to political figures. You can explore the various names and their meanings in this article.

For your ease, we have broken down popular German last names according to 3 categories; occupation, traits and region. Have fun checking them out!


German Last Names
German Last Names


Common German Last Names Based On Occupation

Listed below are common and popular German last names with meanings, that are given according to the occupation of the name holder. Even without the definition listed, I’m pretty sure you can guess what they mean.

Müller – Miller

Schmidt/Schmitt – Smith

Meyer/Meier/Mayer – Self-employed Farmer

Schneider – Tailor

Fischer – Fisherman

Weber – Weaver

Wagner – Wainwright

Becker/Beck – Baker

Schulz/Scholz – Medieval Sheriff

Hoffmann – Steward or courtier

Schäfer – Shepherd

Koch – Cook

Bauer/Baumann – Farmer

Richter – Judge

Zimmermann – Carpenter

Schröder – Tailor or Wine shipper

Hofmann – Steward

Krüger – Innkeeper

Lehmann – Vassal

Schulze/Schulte – Medieval mayor

Köhler – Charcoal-maker

Huber – Farmer

Möller – Miller

Krüger – Potter

Keller – Winemaker

Winkler – Grocer

Schuster/Schumacher –  Shoemaker

Krämer – Grocer

Vogt – Bailiff

Jäger – Hunter

Bergmann – Miner

Crusius Surname

Pfeiffer – Piper

Schreiber – Scrivener

Graf – Count

Ziegler – Brickmaker


Popular German Surnames By Trait or Characteristic

Again, this list of German surnames are pretty self-explanatory as they describe a feature or trait of an individual.

Klein – Small/short

Wolf – Wolf-like

Neumann – New Man

Schwarz – Black haired

Braun – Brown haired

Lange/Lang – Tall

Krause – Curly Haired

König – King

Kaiser – Emperor

Fuchs – Fox-like

Weiß – White Haired

Jung – Young

Roth – Red haired

Kraus – Curly-haired

Groß – Big

Kühn  – Brave

Sauer – Grim

Hartmann  – Strongman


German Last Names By Place/Region

This list shows German names that indicate where a person lives or has come from.

Achterberg – From the name of various places in the Netherlands and Germany.

Acker – A person who lives near a field.

Adenauer – Someone from Adenau in Germany.

Bergmann – Someone who lived on a mountain.

Bohler – Someone from the German towns called Boll or Böhl.

Bohm – Somebody from the region of Bohemia.

Braband – Region of Brabant.

Breisacher – Someone from the town of Breisach, Germany.

Frank – Name for a person from Franconia in Germany.

Graner – A person from Gran, a city in northern Hungary.

Heppenheimer – From the city of Heppenheim in Hesse, Germany.

Holst – Someone from Holstein, between Germany and Denmark.

Meissener – German town of Meissen.

Oursler – A person from Ursel/Oberursel in Hesse, Germany.

Sachs –  A person from Saxony.

Tangeman – Someone from Tange in northern Germany.

West – Someone from the west or who came from the West.

Zellweger – A person from the Appenzell region of Switzerland.


We hope you enjoyed reading through this article. You can read more of our articles by clicking on the link in red.

  1. Korean Last Names
  2. Japanese Last Names
  3. Russian Last Names
  4. Hawaiian Last Names
  5. Italian Last Names
  6. Indian Last Names
  7. Greek Last Names
  8. Mexican Last Names
  9. African Last Names
  10. African American Last Names

Leave a Reply