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?

In 1940, Laborer and Housewife were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named German. 18% of German men worked as a Laborer and 8% of German women worked as a Housewife. Some less common occupations for Americans named German were Truck Driver and Teacher

View Census data for German | Data not to scale

Top Male Occupations in 1940

  • Laborer
  • Farmer
  • Salesman
  • Truck Driver

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Housewife
  • Clerk
  • Housekeeper
  • Teacher

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

German Historical Records

What German family records will you find?

Census Record

There are 102,000 census records available for the last name German. Like a window into their day-to-day life, German census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger List

There are 16,000 immigration records available for the last name German. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Card

There are 89,000 military records available for the last name German. For the veterans among your German ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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German Life Expectancy

What is the average German lifespan?

Between 1949 and 2004, in the United States, German life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1952, and highest in 2000. The average life expectancy for German in 1949 was 49, and 75 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for German

Famous German Family Ancestors

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