In this section we will focus on German surnames beginning with J.
Alternatively, click on the following letters to go to German surnames beginning with:
Jachenholz – Most likely to have originally been used to describe inhabitants from a place bearing the same name, for example, in Bavaria there is a river called ‘Jachen’, which flows through the town of ‘Jachenau’. ‘Jachenau’ is located in the district of Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen in Upper Bavaria which is situated on German-Austria border. Up until 1950 the River Jachen was traditionally used to transport chopped wood all around the Walchensee and Jachenau area.
Jaeger / Jager / Jäger – Means `hunter` in English from the German verb `jagen` meaning to ´hunt / chase / hound.’ Thus the name would have been originally given to somebody who was a ‘hunter’.
Jagemann / Jägersmann – Most likely to have originally referred to a ‘huntsman’. Please see post above for further information.
Jakob – The third Hebrew Patriarch and son of Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob. The name is derived from Hebrew and means `holder of the heel’ referring to when Jacob came into the world holding the heel of his twin brother, Esau. It is also likely to be associated with St. James the Apostle.
Jansen – A short form of Johannes. Please see ‘Johannes’ listed below for further information.
Jenne – A short form of Johannes. Please see ‘Johannes’ listed below for further information.
Jochen(s) / Joachim – Derived from the Biblical King ‘Jehoiakim’ (ca. 634 – 598 BC) who became King of Judah in 608 BC. In Hebrew it means ‘created by God.’
Johannes – This German first name and surname, which is of Hebrew origins and means ‘God is gracious`, refers to St. John the Baptist. There are a variety of short forms of this name, such as Jahn, Jansen, Jenne and Johann. `Johannes` is `John` in English.
Jonas – Of Hebrew origins meaning ´dove`. Refers back to the Prophet Jonas (Jonah in English) and one of the oldest stories from the Bible ‘Jonah and the whale.`
Joppe – Means ‘jacket’ in English and thus most likely to have originally been the occupational name of a ‘jacket maker’. Interestingly - although unlikely to have links with the German ‘Joppe’ surname - it was also an old Greek name for Jaffa, now a part of Tel Aviv-Jaffa in Israel.
Joseph – In Hebrew it means ‘God increases.` Refers to Saint Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus and husband of the Virgin Mary as well as the Patriarch Joseph of the Old Testament, son of Jacob.
Jud(e) – Means ‘Jew` in English and thus initially described somebody who was Jewish or had Jewish connections.
Judith – Means ‘of Jedea’ (Jewish.) From the ‘Book of Judith’ – a parable of the Old Testament (not included by Jews or Protestants though.) It centres round a woman who kills Holofernes, the leader of the Assyrians who is the enemy of her country people, by decapitating him and thus ultimately preventing Israel from being conquered.
Jung – Means `young` in English and would have originally referred to the ‘youngest one’ as opposed to the oldest one (i.e. a father and son.)
Jungfer – Short form of ‘young woman’ (Jungfrau) and would have initially referred to a young noble lady. Research suggests, however, that over the years the name also came to refer to a noble woman’s young female servant. ‘Jungfrau’ in German nowadaysmeans ‘spinster’, ‘old maid’ and 'virgin' amongst other things.
Jutta – A variation of the name Judith which was particularly popular with the gentry, for example ‘Countess Jutta von Sponheim’ (1091 – 1136) who lived in the area now known as Rheinland-Palatinate. She taught and brought up many children from particularly affluent families. Most markedly of all, Blessed Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179), also known as Saint Hildegard. Please see ‘Judith’ and ‘Hildegard’ for further information.
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