Here we will look at the meanings of German surnames beginning with N.
Alternatively, click on the following letters to go to German surnames beginning with:
Nagel – Means ‘nail’ in English. This German surname has two possible origins. Firstly, and most likely, it was the occupational name for a manufacturer of nails. Secondly, it may have originated in the town of ‘Nagel’ in Bavaria thus once denoting inhabitants of this area.
Naumann / Neumann / Niemann / Neumaier / Niemeyer – These particularly popular German surnames all mean ‘new man’. They most likely originally referred to somebody who was new to an area. ‘Newman’ is the English equivalent of this name.
Nestler – From the Middle High German ‘nesteler’ which was an occupational name for a manufacturer of threads, strings and / or laces.
Neu – Means ‘new’ in English. This German surname is thus most likely to have originally denoted somebody who was new to an area.
Neubauer / Neuber / Neubert / Neugebauer – Literally translated, these German surnames mean ‘new farmer‘ in English. Thus, originally they would have referred to a farmer who had recently moved to a village.
Neuhaus – Literally translated this German surname means ‘new house’ in English. There are a few possible origins. Firstly, it may, quite simply, have referred to somebody who had moved into a ‘new house’. Secondly, it may well have originally denoted inhabitants of one of several places in Germany called ‘Neuhaus’, for example, ‘Neuhaus an der Pegnitz’ and ‘Neuhaus am Inn’ in Bavaria as well as ‘Neuhaus’ in Saarland and ‘Neuhaus am Rennweg’ in Thuringia. ‘Newhouse’ is the English surname equivalent.
Nick / Nickel – One of the most popular surnames of the Middle Ages, ‘Nick / Nickel’ derives from the name ‘Nikolaus’ (or ‘Nicholas’ in English). Made popular by the 4th century Greek saint, Saint Nikolaus, who had a reputation for being a secret bringer of gifts. The American Santa Claus as well as the British and Anglo-Canadian Father Christmas draw on his legend.
Nielsen – Of Dutch origin, this name is a variation of ‘Nikolaus’. Please see ‘Nick / Nickel’ posted above for further information.
Nissen – Of Dutch origin, this name is a variation of ‘Nikolaus’. Please see ‘Nick / Nickel’ posted above for further information.
Nitsch / Nitschke / Nitzsche / Nitsche – An old Silesian variation of the name ‘Nikolaus’. Please see ‘Nick / Nickel’ posted above for further information.
Noack / Nowak / Novak – Of East German (Slavic) origins, this German surname can be interpreted in the same way as ‘Naumann’. It is Poland’s most common surname. Please refer to ‘Naumann’ listed above for further information.
Noll – A couple of possible origins and meanings. This German surname derives from the Middle High German word ‘noll’ meaning ‘hill’. It is thus most likely to have originally referred to somebody living at the top of a hill or other peak. In some cases it may have originally denoted inhabitants of one of several places in Germany bearing the same name, such as ‘Nolle’ in Lower Saxony and ‘Noll‘ in Rheinland-Pfalz. In only a few cases would it have referred to somebody who was plump.
Nolte – A short form of ‘Arnold’. Please refer to ‘Arnold’ listed under ‘German surnames beginning with A’ for further information.
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