Wolf Family History
Wolf Name Meaning
German English Dutch and Danish: from a short form of the various ancient Germanic compound names with the first element wolf ‘wolf’ or a byname or nickname with this meaning or a topographic or habitational name referring to a house distinguished by the sign of a wolf. The wolf was native throughout the forests of Europe including Britain until comparatively recently. In ancient and medieval times it played an important role in ancient Germanic mythology being regarded as one of the sacred beasts of Woden. The surname of German origin is also found in many other parts of Europe e.g. in France (Alsace and Lorraine) Poland Hungary Czechia Slovakia Slovenia and Croatia often as a German translation of local equivalents. In North America this surname has absorbed cognates from other languages e.g. Hungarian Farkas Czech and Slovak Vlk Slovenian Volk Ukrainian and Slovenian Vovk Slovenian Croatian and Serbian Vuk and also Czech Slovenian Croatian Slovak and Hungarian Volf . In part this is a Gottscheerish (i.e. Gottschee German) surname originating from the Kočevsko region in Lower Carniola Slovenia (see Kocevar ). Compare De Wolf Wolfe Wolff Woolf Woulfe and Wulf . Jewish (Ashkenazic): from the Yiddish male personal name Volf meaning ‘wolf’ which is associated with the Hebrew personal name Binyamin (see Benjamin ). This association stems from Jacob's dying words ‘Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey and at night he shall divide the spoil’ (Genesis 49:27). Compare Volf . Irish: variant of Woulfe . Native American: translation into English (and shortening) of a personal name based on a word such as Lakota Sioux šuŋgmanitu and Chippewa ma'iingan meaning ‘wolf’. The importance of the wolf to Native Americans is reflected in their traditional personal names many of which were adopted as surnames (translated into English) e.g. Black Wolf (see Blackwolf ) and Little Wolf (see Littlewolf ).
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press