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

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German Family Origin

Where is the German family from?

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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.

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  • Farmer

    37%
  • Laborer

    10%
  • Keeping House

    5%
  • Farming

    3%

In 1880, the most common German occupation in the USA was Farmer. 37% of German's were Farmers. Farmer, Laborer and Keeping House were the top 3 reported jobs worked by German. A less common occupation for the German family was Farming.

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 1940's US census records for German

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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.

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United States

Famous German Family

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Albert Einstein1879 - 1955 (76)
John Philip Sousa1854 - 1932 (77)
Ella Fitzgerald1918 - 1996 (78)
Audrey Hepburn1929 - 1993 (63)
Albert Einstein1879 - 1955 (76)
John Philip Sousa1854 - 1932 (77)
Ella Fitzgerald1918 - 1996 (78)

Frank Lloyd Wright1867 - 1959 (91)
Nikola Tesla1856 - 1943 (86)
Babe Ruth1895 - 1948 (53)
Mark Twain1835 - 1910 (74)
Frank Lloyd Wright1867 - 1959 (91)
Nikola Tesla1856 - 1943 (86)
Babe Ruth1895 - 1948 (53)
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