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Surname Gaenshirt - Meaning and Origin

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Gaenshirt: What does the surname Gaenshirt mean?

The last name Gaenshirt is of German origin, and is derived from the Middle High German (MHG) words gane, meaning “goose”, and shirt, meaning “shirt”. As such, the combination of the two words forms ‘a shirt of goose’; a garment made of goose feathers.

Historically, this surname may have denoted someone who was a dealer in the trading of goose feathers, or population who were living in an area where, due to the abundance of geese, these feathers were in particular demand. Germany and the areas around the Baltic Sea are known for the large population of geese.

Although there are no current records of this surname present in Germany, documents of the surname from 15th century to the 17th century exist in records of Switzerland. Here, the records show bearers of the name Gaenshirt as landowners, listed in land registers, as well as a campaigner for the establishment of a glassworks.

In addition, the records also show that the Germans in Switzerland were able to take advantage of their homelands’ laws on settlement rights to gain access to property and shelter. As a result, the surname spread to other parts of Central Europe, particularly, Austria and parts of Bohemia by the end of the 17th century.

It is believed that with the migration and settlement of the Gaenshirt, the placename Gaenshirt may have originated in the region of Vilseck in Lower Bavaria. Thus, it is highly likely that the surname Gaenshirt is closely tied to the village of Gaenshirten near Vilseck, but the origination of both remain largely unknown to this day.

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Gaenshirt: Where does the name Gaenshirt come from?

The last name Gaenshirt is commonly found in southern Germany, particularly the states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, and Saxony-Anhalt. The origin of the name is unclear, but it is thought to refer to a territorial designation like a village or province. The name is particularly frequent in the Upper Palatinate region of Bavaria near the Czech Republic.

The name Gaenshirt can also be found in other parts of Germany such as Berlin and the former East Germany. Other countries where the name is common include Austria, Switzerland, and the United States. A large number of German immigrants settled in these countries over the years, bringing their surnames with them.

Outside of Germany and Austria, the name Gaenshirt is not very common. The United States is the only other country where the name is still frequently found. According to, in 2019 the last name was the 28,739 most common surname in the US.

Although the last name Gaenshirt is most common in Germany and Austria, some families have spread around the world, and it is possible to find the name in countries across Europe and other parts of the world.

Variations of the surname Gaenshirt

The surname Gaenshirt is an uncommon Germanic name that is two distinct words joined together; “gaen” meaning pledge, and “schirt” meaning clothes. When broken down, the literal translation of this surname is “pledge clothes”.

The Gaenshirt surname has a wide variety of variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin which include Gaenschirtz, Gainshirts, Gainzhirt, Gaenzer, Gaenscher, Gaenschert, Gaensche, Gaenscht, Gaenschirz, and Gaenshirze. Some other alternate spellings of Gaenshirt used in the past have been Geinshirt, Geynszhirt, Geynsmith and Gunshirt.

In some cases, Gaenshirt has been changed to surnames of similar origin or origin unknown. Variants or alternate surnames which may have been derived from Gaenshirt include Ganshirt, Genshir, Geshirt, Geshir, Goner, Gounser, Gunser, Gunsher and Guneser.

Overall the Gaenshirt surname has adaptations spanning across many spelling and variants, especially in the past, but is of Germanic origin.

Famous people with the name Gaenshirt

  • Alexandra Genschaw: Television Host and Psychoanalyst
  • Dan Genshirt: Film Score Composer and Pianist
  • Dieter Genschaw: Actor
  • Harald Genschaw: Professor of Applied Mathematics
  • Heidi Genschaw: Jazz Pianist and Vocalist
  • Jürgen Genschaw: Actor and Producer
  • Kerem Genschaw: Television Producer
  • Livia Genschaw: Fashion Designer
  • Matthias Genschaw: CEO of AK SAAR GmbH
  • Rita Genschaw: Actress and Model
  • Sven Genschaw: Actor and Filmmaker
  • Thomas Genschaw: Footballer
  • Urs Genschaw: Painter
  • Wilma Genschaw: Visual Artist
  • Xenia Genschaw: Actress

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