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The suffix "-ke"/"-ka" - as in "Rilke", "Kafka", "Krupke", "Mielke", "Renke", "Schoepke" - hints at Slavic roots. The Slavic "-ke" suffix is similar to the Germanic "-sen" or "-son", indicating patrilinear descent - "from the father", "son of". (Other languages used prefixes, as in the "Fitz-", "Mac-", or "O'" found in Gaelic regions.) But in the case of the Slavic "-ke", the father's name is usually not his Christian or given name ("Peter-son", "Johann-sen") but an occupation, characteristic, or location associated with the father ("krup" = "hulking", "uncouth" + "ke" = "son of" = "Krupke" = "son of the hulking one"). German Last Names with English Meanings Introduction For each Germanic surname in this glossary we have provided the English meaning, which may or may not be a surname in English.

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In many cases, there may be several possible origins or translations for a surname.

- because an immigrant from Portugal ended up in the German section of a community and no one could pronounce his name. Some relatively famous examples of Germanic-English name alterations include "Blumenthal"/"Bloomingdale", "Bing"/"Boeing", "Stutenbecker"/"Studebaker", and "Wistinghausen"/"Westinghouse".

Or "Baumann" ("farmer") becoming "Bowman" ("sailor" or "archer"? Below is a chart of some common German-English name variations. "Pflichtfreies Erbe" und ist vermutlich eine Herkunftsbezeichnung zur franzsischen Gemeinde "Les Alleux" in den franzsischen Ardennen.

The translation shown for a surname may not be the only possibility.

Some names are derived from Old German and may have a different meaning from that in modern German. - Also see: Top 50 German Surnames and What's in a (German) Name?