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Surname Saarland - Meaning and Origin

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Saarland: What does the surname Saarland mean?

Saarland is a region in Germany that is located along the country's western border. Saarland's name can be traced back to the old Germanic word "saar", which means river or stream. It is part of the region known historically as the Rheinland Palatinate, and it was historically part of the Holy Roman Empire and later the German Confederation.

The name Saarland is first mentioned in recorded history in the year 1269, when it was recorded as a county in the region. The history and meaning of Saarland's name embodies its region's tumultuous political and cultural development over the centuries. Saarland has always been a strategically important region, having played a major role in many wars, and it is believed that this is why it was given a name that embodies its reputation as a waterway and throughway over land.

Cleverer rulers, such as the Prussians, kept a strong presence in Saarland throughout much of its history and gave the region many of its defining political structures and borders. It was during the 19th century when, due to the determination of the rulers of Prussia and other German states, the borders of Saarland were officially laid down and have been kept virtually the same since then.

The region is also well-known for its rich history of minerals, iron ore, and coal, and this is reflected in the name Saarland as "saar" can be translated to "ore" or "metal". This speaks to the immense economic importance of the region throughout its history. Therefore, when considering the name Saarland, it is important to consider both its historical and economic value in an era where politically-strategic waterways and ore-rich lands held immense strategic importance for all sides of conflict.

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Saarland: Where does the name Saarland come from?

The last name Saarland is most commonly found in Southwest Germany today. It is used to describe families living in the state of Saarland, which borders France, Luxembourg and Rhineland-Palatinate. This last name is distinct in that it bears the same name as the state it originates from.

The name Saarland has its roots in a medieval German principality founded in the 10th century, although tracing one's ancestral lineage to this is not a guarantee of the surname today.

It is believed that the Saarland name was adopted as a last name in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, as inhabitants of the region sought to define family ties. The earliest recorded instance of the Saarland surname comes from the marriage between Johannes Saarland and Anna Lorch in 1693 in Saarland, Germany.

Today, due to migration and changes in naming conventions, there are now Saarland families living in other parts of Germany and abroad. The Saarland surname remains distinct, however, with its origin stemming from the southwestern state of Germany.

Variations of the surname Saarland

The Saarland surname is derived from the region of Saarland in Germany. The main variant spellings of the Saarland surname are Sarland, Sarlant, Sarlande, Sarlent, Saerlant, and Saarlant. It is also commonly found as a double-barreled surname combining Saarland with other German or Dutch surnames such as Böhlke, Kerner, Heissenberger, and Meurer.

The Saarland family were always closely associated with the region of the Saar, so many of the variants of the surname refer to it in some way. The oldest variant of the Saarland surname appears to be Sarland or Sarlant, which alludes to the region itself - Sarland literally translates as “land of the Saar”.

It’s likely that the variants of the Saarland surname were all created in the High Middle Ages when family names were first being used in earnest. As populations became more diverse and more mobile, people began to use surnames to help them differentiate between individuals with the same first name. This led to variations of spelling and pronunciation which are still evident today.

One variant, Saerlant, is a direct reference to the Saar river, although it also meant “from saer” according to some sources. Sarlande, Saarlant, and Saulland are all further variations of the Saarland surname, with Sarlande and Saarlant referring to the region, and Saulland being a play on the German word for “land” - saul.

Finally, a number of double-barreled surnames have been created which combine Saarland with other German or Dutch surnames such as Böhlke, Kerner, Heissenberger, and Meurer. These combinations create unique surnames which reflect the diverse populations and cultures found in the Saar region and beyond.

Famous people with the name Saarland

  • Gregor Gysi: A German lawyer and left-wing party politician who is a current member of The Left Party (Die Linke) in the Bundestag.
  • Bernd Riexinger: A German politician who has been Leader of The Left Party (Die Linke) since 20113.
  • Louise Otto-Peters: A nineteenth-century German writer and pioneer of the women's movement in the German-speaking world.
  • Jochen Hörtnagel: A German Moderator and documentary filmmaker.
  • Ferdinand Schmoranz: A nineteenth-century German lawyer, politician and noted guerrilla fighter in the Franco-Prussian War.
  • Katharina Schulze: A German politician who is a Member of the European Parliament for The Greens–European Free Alliance in the German Bundestag.
  • Monika Griefahn: A German politician, consultant and author who was Minister for Environment and Nature Conservation, Women’s Affairs and Consumer Protection of North Rhine-Westphalia from 2000 to 2005.
  • Günter Nooke: A German politician and noted human rights activist who is currently the Federal Government’s Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.
  • Anna Schäfer: A German politician who is currently a Member of the European Parliament for the Social Democratic Party.
  • Matthias Platzeck: A German politician and the Minister-President of Brandenburg from 2002 to 2013.

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