German Surnames
Beginning with E

Let’s continue by looking at a list of German surnames beginning with E.

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Eberhardt / Eberhart – Originates from the Old High German word ‘ebur’ (i.e. ‘Eber’) meaning ‘boar’ in English and ‘harti / herti’ meaning hard / strong, thus in essence meaning ‘strong as a boar.’ The name also has noble connections, in particular in the Württemberg area. The first noble to bear the ‘Eberhard’ name was Eberhard I, Duke of Württemberg (1445-1496) – also known as ‘Eberhard the Bearded.’

Ebersbach / Ebersbacher – A number of villages bear the same name all of which are located in either Baden-Württemberg or Saxony in Germany. Therefore, the surname is likely to have originally denoted inhabitants of one (or more) of these villages. ‘Eber’ means ‘boar’ in English and ‘bach’ means stream.

Eberstark – Means as ‘strong as a boar’ in English.

Eckhardt / Eckhart / Eckert – Originally indicated somebody who was a strong and/or brave sword fighter. Stemming from Old High German, ‘Eck’, which would have stood for ‘sword’, and ‘hardt’ for ‘strong / brave.’ A very popular name in the Middle Ages.

Edel / Edelmann – Likely to have noble or aristocratic roots. Literally translated ‘Edelmann’ means ‘noble man’. ‘Edel’ is also believed, however, to be a short form of ‘Albrecht.’

Ehemann / Ehbauer- Stems from the Middle High German meaning ‘law / contract’ and would have originally referred to somebody ‘in a binding contract’. In German nowadays, ‘Ehemann’ means ‘husband.’

Eich / Eichner / Eicher - Means ‘oak’ in English. Originally referring to somebody who lived under or very near to an oak tree or, alternatively, stemming from numerous place names in Germany, such as ‘Eich’, ‘Eiche’ and ‘Eichen.’

Eichbaum - Means ‘oak tree’ in English. Please see ‘Eich.'

Eichbuchler / Eichbuechler – Means ‘oak hill’ in English and would have originally referred to somebody living on an oak hill.

Eichholz – Literally means ‘oak wood‘ in English. Believed to originate from various places around Germany, in particular Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Nordrhein-Westfalen – in which several places bear exactly the same name.

Eichmann – Means ‘oak man’ in English. Please see ‘Eich’ for further details.

Eigner / Aigner – From Middle High German ‘aigen’ meaning ´own’. Likely to have referred to an independent smallholder (i.e. people who ‘owned’ their property’.)

Ehrlich – From Middle High German `erlich` meaning to have honour and to be admirable. Possibly also originates from the town Erlengebüsch which was originally spelt ‘erlach’. Believed to be of Jewish origin.

Ehr(lich)mann / Ermann – Means ‘man of honour’/ ‘man of high regard’ in English.

Eifler/ Eiffler – Originally denoting people from the low mountain range of ‘Eifel’ located in western Germany and eastern Belgium.

Eisenbart / Eisenbarth – Two possibilities. Firstly, it may be a variation of the first name ´Isanbert´ from an Old High German word meaning ‘shining metal/iron’ (‘ïsan, ïsen’ meaning ‘iron metal’ and ‘bart, bert, berath’ meaning ‘shining’, ‘glowing’). It could thus refer to a blacksmith. One of the first recordings of the name was in 1019 and was spelt ‘Eissenbart.’ Secondly, it could mean ‘iron beard’ and may have originally referred to people who were deemed as tough or as hard as metal.

Eisenbeiss / Eisenbeiss / Eisenbeis – Believed to originate from the Middle High German word `ïsenbiç´ meaning `iron eater´.

Eisenhauer / Eisenhower – Likely to have been an occupational name for an `iron miner / blacksmith.’

Eisenmann / Eismann - An occupational name for an ´iron dealer/blacksmith‘ originating from the Middle High German `ïsen man` literally meaning ‘iron man’.

Eisenmenger – Also an occupational name for an `iron dealer‘ originating from the Middle High German word ‘ïsenmenge’.

Eisenschmidt - An occupational name for a blacksmith who forged only iron.

Eisner - Originates from the Middle High German word ‘ïsener’ meaning ‘iron or metal dealer / blacksmith.’

Elmer - Likely to have originated from Elm in Switzerland which is part of the municipality of Glarus Süd. The majority of the area consists of glaciers, rivers and mountains. The land is also used for agricultural purposes. Elm was first mentioned in 1344 as ‘Elme’.

Ende / Endemann - Means ‘end (man)’ in English. Originally referred to someone who lived at the end of a village or street.

Enge / Engemann / Engmann – Literally means ‘narrow man’. Possibly referring to somebody who lived in or near to a very narrow street/valley etc. It is also very likely that the name may have emerged from ‘Ende/Endemann.’ Please see above.

Engel / Engels - ‘Engel’ means ‘angel’ in English. There a few possible origins, however. Firstly, it might have been a short form of the very old Germanic first name ‘Engelhard’, which when translated literally into English, means ‘angel hard’. Secondly, it may originate from the Germanic tribe known as the ‘Angles’ who together with the ‘Saxons’ invaded Great Britain in the 5th century. The ‘Angles’ are believed to originate from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. Lastly, it might also originate from the Old High German word ‘engil’, ‘anghil’ meaning ‘angel’ and thus have referred to somebody who was ‘angel-like.’

Engelbrecht – Means ‘angel bright/famous’ and is sometimes translated as ‘angel glorious.’ Stems from the old popular German first name ‚Angil-beraht’. Likely to originate from the ‘Angles’ tribe. Please see ‘Engel’ for further information.

Engelhardt – Means ‘angel hard’ in English. Is also likely to originate from the ‘Angles’ tribe. Please see ‘Engel’ for further information.

Engelmann – Literally means ‘angel man‘. It is a short form of the ‘Engelhardt’, ‘Engelbrecht’, ‘Engelmar’ and ‘Engelschalk.` Please see `Engel` for further information.

Erdmann / Erdtmann / Ertmann - It originates from the Old High German name ‘Ertmar’ which was particular popular in northern Germany. ‘Erda’ meant ‘earth’ and ‘mar’ meant ‘famous / well-known’. Often parents would christen their new born baby boy ‘Erdtmann’ if previously a son of theirs had died (and ‘Erdmuthe’ for a girl if previously a daughter had died.) Furthermore, there is an ‘Erdmannsdorf’ in Saxony and in Silesia and, therefore, the name could have originally described inhabitants of one or both of these villages.

Erfurt / Erforth / Erfert - Originates from the city of Erfurt, the capital city of Thuringia. The ‘Er-‘ is likely to stem from the Old High German words ‘erpf‘ means `dark, brown, black` , with particular reference to the ‘Erpisa` which is believed to be the original name of the River Gera in Erfurt. ‘Furt’ meant ‘ford.’ In context, therefore, it refers to ‘the place where a ford crosses the (dark) Erpisa’.

Ernst - From the Old High German name `Ernust‘ meaning ‘serious’ and/or ‘battle/fight’. Research suggests it was either a name given to somebody with a serious temperament, or to someone who was faithful and loyal, as borne out by the fact that it was very popular in noble circles.

Essling / Esslinger / Eßling / Esling - Originally used to describe inhabitants of ‘Esslingen’ in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. ‘Esslingen am Neckar’, which is the largest city in the district of ‘Esslingen’, is located on the River Neckar about 14 kilometers from Stuttgart. Human settlement here can be traced back to 1000 B.C.

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