The Top 100 German Last Names

Here's the meaning of some of the most common German last names

Blacksmith
The common last name Schmidt means Blacksmith. Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

German last names are common in Germany and far beyond. 

Here are 100 of the most common German last names. The list was originally created by searching for the most common surnames in 2012 via German telephone books. Take note that variances in spelling of a surname were looked at as separate names. For instance, Schmidt, which is ranked as No. 2, appears as Schmitt (rank 24) and Schmid (rank 26), as well.

The Origin of German Last Names

The meanings of German last names are those as originally defined when these names became surnames. For example, the surname Meyer means dairy farmer today, whereas in the Middle Ages, Meyer was designated to people who were stewards of landholders.

Most names derive either from archaic professions (Schmidt, Müller, Weber, Schäfer) or places. Not too many of those are on the following list but examples include Brinkmann, Berger and Frank.

The acronyms OHG and MHG stand for Old High German and Middle High German, respectively.

100 Common German Last Names

1. Müller - miller
2. Schmidt - smith
3. Schneider - taylor
4. Fischer - fisher
5. Weber - weaver
6. Schäfer - shepherd
7. Meyer MHG - steward of landholder; leaseholder
8. Wagner - wagoner
9. Becker from Bäcker - baker
10. Bauer - farmer
11. Hoffmann - landed farmer
12. Schulz - mayor
13. Koch - cook
14. Richter - judge
15.

Klein - small
16. Wolf - wolf
17. Schröder - carter
18. Neumann - new man
19. Braun - brown
20. Werner OHG - defense army
21. Schwarz - black
22. Hofmann - landed farmer
23. Zimmermann - carpenter
24. Schmitt - smith
25. Hartmann - strong man
26. Schmid - smith
27. Weiß - white
28. Schmitz - smith
29.

Krüger - potter
30. Lange - long
31. Meier MHG - steward of landholder; leaseholder
32. Walter - leader, ruler
33. Köhler - charcoal-maker
34. Maier MHG - steward of landholder; leaseholder
35. Beck from Bach - stream; Bäcker - baker
36. König - king
37. Krause - curly-haired
38. Schulze - mayor
39. Huber - land-owner
40. Mayer - steward of landholder; leaseholder
41. Frank - from Franconia
42. Lehmann - serf
43. Kaiser - emperor
44. Fuchs - fox
45. Herrmann - warrior
46. Lang - long
47. Thomas Aramaic - twin
48. Peters Greek - rock
49. Stein - rock, stone
50. Jung - young
51. Möller - miller
52. Berger from French - shepherd
53. Martin latin - war-like
54. Friedrich OHG fridu - peace, rihhi- powerful
55. Scholz - mayor
56. Keller - cellar
57. Groß - big
58. Hahn - rooster
59. Roth from rot - red
60. Günther Scandinavian - warrior
61. Vogel - bird
62. Schubert MHG Schuochwürchte - shoemaker
63. Winkler from Winkel - angle
64. Schuster - shoemaker
65. Jäger - hunter
66. Lorenz from latin - Laurentius
67. Ludwig OHG luth - famous, wig - war
68. Baumann - farmer
69. Heinrich OHG heim - home and rihhi - powerful
70. Otto OHG ot - property, inheritance
71. Simon Hebrew - God has listened
72.

Graf - count, earl
73. Kraus - curly-haired
74. Krämer - small trader, dealer
75. Böhm - of Bohemia
76. Schulte from Schultheiß - debt-broker
77. Albrecht OHG adal - noble, bereht - famous
78. Franke - of Franconia
79. Winter - winter
80. Schumacher - cobbler, shoemaker
81. Vogt - steward
82. Haas MHG - nickname for rabbit hunter; coward
83. Sommer - summer
84. Schreiber ​- writer, scribe
85. Engel angel
86. Ziegler ​- brickmaker
87. Dietrich OHG ​- people’s ruler
88. Brandt ​- fire, burn
89. Seidel ​- mug
90. Kuhn ​- councilman
91. Busch ​- bush
92. Horn ​- horn
93. ArnoldOHG ​- strength of an eagle
94. Kühn ​- councilman
95. Bergmann ​- miner
96. Pohl ​- Polish
97. Pfeiffer ​- piper
98. Wolff ​- wolf
99. Voigt ​- steward
100. Sauer ​- sour

Want to Learn More?

See also popular German surnames for an overview of German last names with their English meaning.