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German Family History

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

506,615 Historical Documents and Family Trees with German on Ancestry.com
121,540 Birth, Marriage, and Deaths
89,523 Military Records
14,756 Immigration Records
96,985 Census and Voter Lists
183,811 Member Family Trees

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Name Distribution of German Families

  • Number of German families
     149 - 296
     50 - 148
     1 - 49
     
    from the 1920 US Federal Census Data
  • Number of German families
     110 - 218
     37 - 109
     1 - 36
     
    from the 1891 England and Wales Census Data
  • Number of German families
     7 - 11
     3 - 6
     1 - 2
     
    from the 1891 Scotland Census Data

German census records

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German Family Origin

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The information for this chart came from the U.S. Immigration Collection at Ancestry.com. You can find out where the majority of the German families were living before they immigrated to the U.S and learn where to focus your search for foreign records.

Immigration records can tell you an ancestor's name, ship name, port of departure, port of arrival, and destination.

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German Immigration Information

from the New York Passenger Lists

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You can find out when most of the German families immigrated to the United States. You can focus your search to immigration records dating from that era.

Immigration records can tell you an ancestor's name, ship name, port of departure, port of arrival and destination.

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Average Life Expectancy for German

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An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your 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.

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German Family Occupations

from 1880 Federal Census Data

German census records

Census records can offer a lot of little known facts about your German ancestors, such as occupation.

Occupation can tell you about your ancestors' social status and economic status.

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German Civil War Service Records

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You can find out if your ancestors came primarily from the North of the South.

Military records can tell you an ancestor's birthplace, occupation, and even physical description.

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