List of German Surnames Beginning with C

Here we will look at an alphabetical list of German surnames beginning with C.

Alternatively, click on the following letters to go to a list of German surnames beginning with:

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List of German Surnames


Canter / Canther / Kanther – From the Latin ‘cantor’ which was the occupational name for a ‘chorister.’ The name is associated with various travelling theatres in the Middle Ages which employed singers, dancers and other entertainment acts.

Carl / Karl – Normally of pre 5th century origins. Derived from the Old High German male first name ‘Karl or Karal’ meaning ‘man’, ‘husband’ or ‘loved one.’ It can also mean ‘the free one’ or ‘the brave one’. There are numerous spellings of this name.

Castor / Kastor – Its origins in Germany are likely to be associated with the city of Koblenz. The oldest church in the city – ‘Basilika St. Kastor’ - was consecrated to Saint Castor of Karden (in German: Kastor von Karden) who worked as a missionary in Germany in the 4th century.

Chemnitz – Originates from the city of Chemnitz in Germany which, in turn, is named after the River Chemnitz which runs through it. The first recorded use of the city was the 1143 site of a Benedictine monastery. A small settlement began to grow around the monastery and thus Chemnitz was born.

Christoph / Christof(f) / Christoffer - Of Greek origins. A shortened version of the Latin Christian name ‘Christopherus’ meaning ‘Christ bearer’. The Holy Saint Christopher(us) is one of a group of 14 saints worshipped together in the Roman Catholic religion because of their believed protective powers against deadly diseases. St Christopher is the patron saint of travel and travelers.

Claus / Klaus - A variation and/or short form of the name ‘Nikolaus’ (or ‘Nicholas’ in English). Originates from 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.

Clausnitzer – Originates from the village of Clausnitz in Mittelsachsen in Germany which is situated in the Eastern Ore Mountains. The city was founded around the beginning of the 12th century and soon became a farming village. Other spellings over the centuries have included ‘Clussenicz’ (believed to be the original spelling), Klawßnitz, Clawsenicz and Claußnitz.

Clemens / Clement / Klemens - Stems from the Latin word ‘clemen’ and means ‘mild, kind-hearted, gentle one.’ It was also the name of numerous saints in the Middle Ages. Pope Clement I – otherwise known as Saint Clement of Rome (88-98) - was the first Pope to bear this name. Although the original spelling was ‘Clemens’, nowadays generally only the version beginning with ‘K’ is used in Germany.

Colditz – Origins in the town of Colditz in Saxony, Germany. The first record of a settlement in the town was in 1046. The town is most famous because of Colditz Castle.

Cramm – Originates from an ancient family of nobles who are once presumed to have lived in the village of Cramme in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. The first record of the name (Dietrich von Cramme) dates back to 1150.

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