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Surname Harnischfeger - Meaning and Origin

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Harnischfeger: What does the surname Harnischfeger mean?

The last name Harnischfeger is of German origin and generally represents the occupation of a craftsman who makes and repairs metal armor and weapons. The name is made up of two parts – “Harnisch,” meaning armor or coat of arms, and “feger,” meaning maker or repairer. This occupation was often considered a mark of nobility due to the skill and precision that it required.

Harnischfeger families tend to date their origin back to where they lived and operated in the 14th century. The name is most commonly found in the former regions of the Holy Roman Empire, specifically in the Bavaria, Baden-Württemburg and Pfalz areas.

In modern times, the Harnischfeger name is still quite popular. While it does not necessarily denote an occupation anymore, it is still identified as a respected surname amongst the German people. As a result, many German families still bear the name Harnischfeger today.

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Harnischfeger: Where does the name Harnischfeger come from?

The last name Harnischfeger is a German surname deriving from the term "harnisch", which means heraldry, and "feger", which means sweeper. It's most common in its native country of Germany, and there are numerous towns and cities still existing with Harnischfeger in their names. It is thought to have derived from a person in the early 1400s who was either a herald or someone with some sort of regulatory powers, such as a sweeper.

There were several Harnischfeger families in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The surname has become relatively uncommon, however, and is not as widely found today as in times past. There is a Harnischfeger Corporation which operates today, as well as a number of smaller companies and businesses with the name.

Harnischfeger is still found throughout Europe, especially in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The surname also remains fairly common in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Despite its relatively low usage today, the surname still has a long and proud history associated with it, and some families take great pride in their heritage.

Variations of the surname Harnischfeger

The surname Harnischfeger is a German name that has two distinct variants - Harnishfeger and Harnischfegar. It can also be spelled as Herrnishfeger, Hornishfeger and Harnischfegger.

Harnischfegar is an uncommon spelling of Harnischfeger, however, it is likely a variation on the original spelling as it has appeared in some German court records from the mid 19th century. Herrnishfeger and Hornishfeger are similarly rare spellings that are also derived from the original surname.

The variations of the name relating to spelling still follow a similar pronunciation. The endings in the surnames -feger, -fegar and -fegger all refer to the same occupation or nickname – that of a pelterer or furrier. As a result of this occupational origin, it is possible to encounter the surnames in numerous variations.

The most common variant of Harnischfeger is the pluralized form of Harndsfeger. This is used in reference to a family. The related surnames of Harnacht, Harnatz, Harnecht and Hainer also refer to the same family and are often found in the same areas as the Harnischfeger name.

Harnischfeger is also used as a low German/southern German form of the common surname “Harnisch”, which isn’t derived from Harnischfeger, but from the term harnischen, which means “armour”.

Therefore, the possibilities of spellings for the surname Harnischfeger are vast, with many of them connecting it with the occupation of furrier or pelterer. Though the most common form of the name is the original three-syllable version, there are many alternative spellings including Harnishfeger, Harnischfegar, Herrnishfeger, Hornishfeger and Harnischfegger. It can also be pluralized to Harnsfeger, and related surnames such as Harnacht, Harnatz, Harnecht and Hainer can also be derived from it.

Famous people with the name Harnischfeger

  • Dietmar Harnischfeger: German entrepreneur and business leader, founder with Heinz Klockenbrink of Harnischfeger Industries in Munich.
  • Ursula Harnischfeger: German television presenter and ‘guitar goddess’, well-known for her work with German bands such as LaFee, Dschinghis Khan, Julian le Play and The BossHoss.
  • Joachim Harnischfeger: German film producer, best known for producing German films such as Der Punker, Picco und Salato, and Klinke und Schneider.
  • Claus Harnischfeger: German diplomat and former Federal Commissioner for Refugees, Immigrants and Integration of Germany.
  • Berhard Harnischfeger: German entrepreneur and former chairman of the Supervisory Board of the German airline Lufthansa.
  • Helga Harnischfeger: German author, theologian and lecturer, well-known for her works on German-Jewish history.
  • Johanna Harnischfeger: German journalist and author, well-known for her works on Jewish history and culture.
  • Wolfgang Harnischfeger: German composer and conductor, best known for his works on traditional German music.
  • Herbert Harnischfeger: German businessman and retired CEO of the Harnischfeger Corporation.
  • Konrad Harnischfeger: German entrepreneur and founder of the Harnischfeger GmbH in Hamburg.

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