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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, French, German, Italian

Where did the English German family come from? What is the English German family crest and coat of arms? When did the German family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the German family history?

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought many new words to England from which surnames were formed. German was one of these new Norman names. It was specifically tailored to its first bearer, who was a person of German descent, or a person who was associated with that country through trade or other means. Another derivation of the name suggests that it derives from the Old French given name Germain. This name was borne by a popular French saint from the 5th century, and also meant of the same stock, or related to. German is a classic example of an polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.


Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled German, Germans, Jermain, Jarman and others.

First found in Essex where they had been granted lands after the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our German research. Another 281 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1086, 1250, 1248, 1279, 1318, 1402, 1377, 1397, 1650 and 1718 are included under the topic Early German History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 85 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early German Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the German family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 41 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name German or a variant listed above:

German Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas German settled in Maryland in 1654
  • Ann German, who settled in Maryland in 1665
  • Ann German, who arrived in Maryland in 1665
  • John German, his wife Margaret and their two daughters, who were on record in Pennsylvania in 1683

German Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Jacob German, who landed in New York in 1709
  • Benedict German, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1732
  • Benedict German, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Christian German, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Benedict German settled in Philadelphia in 1732

German Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Anthony German, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803
  • William German, aged 40, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Michael German, who landed in New York in 1817
  • Patrick German, who arrived in New York in 1817
  • Edward German, who landed in New York in 1817


  • Sir Edward German (1862-1936), English musician and composer
  • Lindsey German, English activist
  • Michael German (b. 1945), leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and Member of the Welsh Assembly
  • Sir Ronald German, company director from Sussex, and the Reverend Canon Cyril Jarman of Chester Cathedral
  • Anna German (1936-1982), Polish-Russian singer


  • The Family of Johannes Germann (John Garman) in America: A Genealogical History by Leo H. Garman.
  • Nicholas German Family: Westward from New York, 1779-1978 by Leo and Rozetta Guess.

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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  2. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  5. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The German Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The German Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 3 March 2014 at 10:15.

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