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