German Last Names
Beginning with B

Let’s continue learning more about your German ancestry by looking at German last names beginning with B.



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B

Bach - Means ‘brook or stream‘ in English. Originally referred to people who lived or worked near a stream. ‘Bachmann’ , ‘Bachmayer’, ‘Bachmeier’, ‘Pachmann’ and ‘Bochmann’ can also be interpreted in this way.

Bacher – Originates from towns such as Bach and Bachern. ‘Pacher’ can also be interpreted in this way. It can also be a variation of the German last name ‘Bach.’ (See above.)

Bachofen / Backofner / Backofen - Means `baking oven’ and can be interpreted in the same way as the German last name ‘Backhaus’. Possibly also the nickname for a baker.

Bachstein – Means ‘brick’ or ‘clinker’ in English.

Backfisch – Means ‘fried or baked fish’. It is also an old fashioned German word for a teenage girl.

Backhaus –Referring to someone who lived near or worked at a ‘Backhaus’. Similar to a bakery, a ‘Backhaus’ was a small house in which a large oven was housed. Women from around the village would gather there to cook cakes and bread. It was a central part of a village infrastructure.

Bader / Baader – Initially used in Austria, its origins are medieval. It described somebody who owned, lived in or worked at a public bathhouse or health resort.

Baehrenwald / Bärenwald – When translated literally means `bear forest’.

Baer / Bär / Behr / Beer – Means ‘bear’ in English - symbolic of strength and courage.

Baier/Bayer/Beyer /Beier – Means ‘Bavaria’. The name was originally used to indicate people who lived in or were born in Bavaria, Germany.

Baldauf / Baldoff / Baldolf – Believed to have originated in Württemberg, Germany in the 14th century and to have stemmed from the old German first name ‘Baldulf’ (`Bald-wolf’.) ‘Bald’ meaning ‘courageous’ and ‘wolf’ meaning ‘wolf’.

Bambarger /Bamberg / Bamberger / Bamburg / Baumberger / Baumbarger - Originally the name of somebody from the city of Bamberg in Bavaria, Germany. The surname can be traced back to medieval times. First know German settler in the US: Mr. Christophel Bamberg, Philadelphia, 1761.

Barth – Referring to someone who had a `beard‘ or who was particularly hairy. It could also possibly originate from the city of ‘Barth’ in Mecklenburg-Vorpommen in northern Germany.

Bauer/ Baur /Bäuerle – From the old German word ‘büre` which means `farmer` in English. In particular it refers to a ‘modest living’ farmer. The surname is particularly common in Bavaria, Germany. This German last name traced back to the 14th and 15th centuries, albeit in slightly different forms (Pauwer / Bawer / Bawr / Pauer).

Bauerfeind – Means `enemy of the farmer/peasant(s)` in English and refers to knights and, in particular, robber knights who stole from the poor. A variation of the name (Pawerfeint) has been traced back to as early as 1360.

Bauermeister / Bauermeister / Buhrmeister / Buhrmeester – From the old German word ‚bürmeister‘ meaning `mayor’ or ‘head of a village parish’. Believed to originate in Saxony, Germany.

Bauhof – Means ‘construction yard’ in English. Originally referring to someone who owned, worked at or lived near a construction yard.

Bauknecht – Originally the name for someone who worked on a farm. It stems from the old German word ‘buknecht’ which meant ‘plowboy’ or ‘farmhand.’

Baum / Bäumle / Bäumel – Originally referring to somebody who lived near to a large tree.

Baumann – Means `farmer‘. Variants of this German last name (Bumann and Pawman) can be traced back to as early as the 13th and 14th centuries respectively.

Baumgärtner / Baumgartner – Referring to someone who owned an orchard or was a fruit grower.

Bayreuther – Originally used to describe inhabitants of Bayreuth in northern Bavaria, Germany. The town dates back to 1194 and was originally spelled ‘Baierrute’. The ‘Baier’ indicating its location in Bavaria and ‘–rute’ possibly meaning ‘Rodung’ in German or ‘clearance’ in English. Bayreuth is now the capital of Upper Franconia.

Becher / Bächer / Bächle / Bechert - Occupational name for a turner who made wooden mugs and other types of cups.

Bechstein – From the German word `Pechstein` (pitchstone in English.) Pechstein is a dark, glass-like volcanic rock.

Beck / Becker / Bäcker / Beckmann – An old southern German occupational name for a `baker’.

Beethoven – Flemish origins meaning ‘beet garden.’

Behrmann – Literally means ‘beer man’. The original bearers of this German surname were likely to have been tavern owners, beer merchants or brewers. Also see ‘Bier’.

Beiswanger / Beißwenger – Origins likely to be in the town of Binswangen, Bavaria in Germany.

Beitel / Beuttel / Beutler / Beitler - From the Middle High German word ‘biutel’ - ‘bag’ in English. This German last name has two possible meanings. Firstly, and most likely, it means `bag maker’ in English. Interestingly, there was a street called `Beutlergasse‘ in Danzinger, Germany in which bag makers worked and lived - their bags and belts were very sought after. Secondly, it could mean a pickpocket or swindler.

Benzenberg – Limited information. Research suggests its origins could possibly be in the ancient settlement of Benzenberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany.

Berg / Berge – Means `mountain‘ in English. Refers to people who dwelled near to or in a mountain / mountainside or a particularly hilly region. The southern and western parts of Germany are particularly mountainous and it can, therefore, be assumed that the name originated from these parts. Berg(s)man and Berger can also be interrupted in this way.

Bergbauer – Means `mountain farmer‘ in English.

Berghaus – Means ´mountain house‘ in English. This German surname is particularly popular in Bavaria.

Bergkeller – From the Middle High German word `berc‘ (mountain) describing somebody who lived near or on a mountain and from the word `kellerer‘, ’kellaere’ ‘kelner (cellar/shop) describing someone who lived in a house with a cellar or shop.

Bernstein – Is an old High German (and Jewish) surname and means `amber‘ in English. Referring to `amber craftsmen’ and `amber dealers‘. ‘Bern’ comes from the German verb ‘brennen’ which means to burn and ‘Stein’ means ‘stone or rock’ in English.

Bieber / Beber / Bebermeyer – From the Middle High German word ‘biber’ meaning ‘beaver’ which is symbolic of hard work. There are many villages and rivers in Germany bearing the same name and it is, therefore, highly likely the name could originate from one (or more) of these.

Bier – Means ‘beer’ in English. It could also have been the name given to a beer brewer, a trader of beer or even somebody who just poured the beer. Its origins may also be linked to Biere in Sachsen-Anhalt.

Biermann – Someone who traded in beer. See ´Bier‘ above.

Blau – Means ´blue´ in English. Derived from the Old High German word ‘blao’ meaning ‘shining and glimmering.’

Böhm / Behm / Böhme / Bohme – There are many variations of this German last name, but they all have the same meaning. Derived from the old German ‘Boheim’, it means ‘from Bohemia‘. It indicated those who lived or were in born in Bohemia, now the western area of the Czech Republic. In some cases it might have meant somebody who had links to Bohemia. During the time of the reformation, the majority of people with this surname were protestant theologians.

Brandt / Brand – Is a very popular German last name and is a short form of Hildebrand or Hadebrand. It used to be particularly well-spread in northern Germany. In southern Germany in particular, it is spelt ‘Brandl’ or ‘Brantl.’ In some cases, ‘Brand’ was a name given to a village/settlement (and thus its inhabitants) built on an area which was once the scene of a fire.

Brauer / Breuer / Breier – From the Middle High German occupational name "Bruwer" meaning `brewer´ in English. This German surname is believed to originate from the Rhineland and Baden in Germany. The ‘Brauer’ family was among some of the first German families to reach America during the exodus.

Braun / Braune – Means ‘brown` in English. Originally the name of an individual who had brown skin, but could also indicate someone with brown eyes, brown hair, a brown beard and even brown clothing. From the Middle High German word ‘brun’ meaning ‘dark.’

Bürger / Burger – Means ‘citizen / townsman` in English, indicating somebody who was fully entitled to live in a town. It was also the name given to an inhabitant of a castle (Burg). Possibly also the name given to inhabitants of villages called ‘Burg.’

Busch / Bosch / Buschinger – Means `wood’ or ‘forest` in English. Also, possibly originally the name of inhabitants of Buschingen, Germany – particularly the German last name ‘Buschinger’.


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