History of Surnames

June 25, 2007 · Posted in history 

Job designations are the most common form of family names; anybody who had an unusual job would have been bound to be identified by it. Examples: Schmidt (smith), Müller (miller), Meier (farm administrator), Schulze (constable), Fischer (fisherman), Schneider (tailor), Maurer (mason), Bauer (farmer), Metzger or Fleischer (butcher), Töpfer or Toepfer (potter). Note: the surname of Zeitler means "beekeeping in the woods"     — Read Full Article

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One Response to “History of Surnames”

  1. Mervyn Lemon on January 18th, 2008 10:18 am


    Loved your site when tracking “zeidler”. Comment on Schmidt – Yes it is often quoted as “smith”, but originally it meant a “mighty smitter” (a knight who bashed his opponents with a vengeance!) from the German word “to hit”. As a knight he wore armour and had weapons and often had to repair them. Gradually, the name came to mean a “repairer or craftsman”. In mediaeval times, the trades were quite specific; no-one was a “smith”, they were blacksmiths, tinsmiths, coppersmiths, etc.

    Thanks for the site,


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