German Family History

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German Name Meaning

English: ethnic name from Old French germain ‘German’ (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 Germanic ger, gar ‘spear’ as the first element. English (of Norman origin): from the Old French personal name Germain (see Germain). Americanized spelling of Spanish Germán or Hungarian Germán, cognates of 2. German: from the saint’s name German(us). See also Germann. Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): Russianized variant of Hermann. Greek: reduced form of Germanos, a Greek personal name, bestowed in honor of saints of the Eastern Church distinct from St. Germain: in particular, St. Germanos in the 8th century, liturgical poet and patriarch of Constantinople. The Greek surname can also denote someone associated with Germany or someone with blond hair.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

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

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German Family Origin

Where is the German family from?


German Family Occupations

What did your German ancestors do for a living?

Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your German ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

  • Farmer

  • School

  • Laborer

  • Labourer


In 1881, Farmer, School and Laborer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by German. A less common occupation for the German family was Labourer. The most common German occupation in Canada was Farmer. 31% of German's were Farmers.

Source: Census data for German | Data not to scale

German Historical Records

What German family records will you find?

Census records can give you a fascinating window into the day-to-day lives of your German ancestors - like hours worked per week, level of education, veteran status, employers, and more.

Search 1881 Canadian census records for German

Solve your own mystery as you explore your history.

German Life Expectancy

What is the average German lifespan?

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your German ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.


United States

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