Hoffmann Surname Meaning and Family History

The Hoffmann surname originated as a nickname for the steward of a large manor farm.
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The Hoffmann surname originated as a nickname for a farmer who owned his land rather than rented, from the Middle High German Hofman, meaning "person working on a farm." The name eventually came to denote a steward (manager) of a manor farm; as such, it was widespread throughout central and eastern Europe, in both German and non-German-speaking countries.

Hoffmann is the 10th most common German surname.

Surname Origin: German, Jewish


Famous People with the HOFFMANN Surname

  • Dustin Hoffman - Oscar-winning actor
  • Abbie Hoffman - American political activist; founder of the Youth International Party
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman - American actor and director
  • Gaby Hoffmann - American film and television actress
  • Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (E. T. A. Hoffmann) - German Romantic author of fantasy and horror
  • Albert Hofmann - Swiss scientist; best known for his discovery of LSD
  • Roald Hoffmann - American theoretical Nobel Prize-winning chemist
  • Felix Hoffmann - German chemist best-known for inventing aspirin

Where is the HOFFMANN Surname Most Common?

According to surname distribution from Forebears, the Hoffmann surname is most prevalent in Germany, where it ranks as the 7th most common surname in the nation, but is used by a greater percentage of the population in Luxembourg, where it is the 3rd most common surname. It is also fairly common in Austria (74th), Denmark (116th) and Switzerland (150th). The Hoffman spelling, on the other hand, is most prevalent in the United States, although this spelling is not always derived from the German Hoffmann.

According to WorldNames PublicProfiler, Hoffmann is found most frequently in southwest Germany, especially the states of Saarland and Rheinland-Pfalz, followed by the northeast German states of Brandenburg and Sachsen-Anhalt. The Hofmann spelling of this surname is also found primarily in Germany, but in the states of Sachsen, Hessen, Bayern and Thuringen, followed by Zurich, Switzerland.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname HOFFMANN

Meanings of Common German Surnames
Uncover the meaning of your German last name with this free guide to the meanings and origins of common German surnames.

Hoffmann Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Hoffmann family crest or coat of arms for the Hoffmann surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male-line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

DistantCousin.com - HOFFMANN Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Hoffmann.

The Hoffmann Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Hoffmann surname from the website of Genealogy Today.


References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997


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Powell, Kimberly. "Hoffmann Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/hoffmann-surname-meaning-and-origin-4083817. Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). Hoffmann Surname Meaning and Family History. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/hoffmann-surname-meaning-and-origin-4083817 Powell, Kimberly. "Hoffmann Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/hoffmann-surname-meaning-and-origin-4083817 (accessed June 9, 2023).