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Surname Schafer - Meaning and Origin

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Schafer: What does the surname Schafer mean?

The last name Schafer is of German origin and it translates to "shepherd" in English. This surname was likely used as an occupational name for people who looked after sheep in Medieval Europe. It has various spellings such as Schaefer, Schäfer, and Shaefer, depending on the regional usage and variations in the German language. The name is quite common in Germany and also found among populations of German descent in the United States and other countries. The usage of "Schafer" as a surname signifies the individual's or the family's historical connection to shepherding or sheep-rearing activities.

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Schafer: Where does the name Schafer come from?

The last name Schafer is most common in Germany today, according to the 2019 Global Family Tree survey. Germany is home to the highest concentration of Schafer’s worldwide, with the country accounting for at least one-third of all occurrences. The states with the most significant population of the name are Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Saxony, and Baden-Württemberg.

Schafer’s are also becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the United States. It is the 164th most common last name in the United States, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The states with the most concentration of Schafer’s include California, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Minnesota. Schafer’s are particularly concentrated in counties near major urban centers, like Los Angeles and Milwaukee.

Despite the fact that Schafer is a more common last name in Germany, it is important to note that the name is not exclusive to German-speaking countries. Schafer’s can be found all around the world, even in places where the name has only recently become established. There have been reports of the surname being found in France, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Overall, the last name Schafer is extremely common in Germany, and is growing in popularity in the United States. Although rare, the name can also be found in other countries around the world.

Variations of the surname Schafer

The German surname Schafer is also known as Schaefer or Schäfer and is derived from the Middle High German word “schafer” which translates to “shepherd”. This surname is thought to have originally been given to a man who functions as shepherd, or a person who takes care of sheep. Over time, the surname has evolved from shepherd-based roles to more general background or occupation such as farmer, laborer, or worker.

Variations of the Schafer surname include Shafer, Schaff, Schaffer, Schäffer, Schaf, Schoff, Schafar, Shafer, Sheffer, Schoffert, and Šafar. Spellings of the surname may also include Schëffer and Schyyffer. In other countries, some variants of the Schafer surname may appear as Shaffar Arabic, Shafir Hebrew, or Szafar Hungarian.

Surnames of similar origins to Schafer include Shaffer, Shaver, Shearer, Shea, Shaw, and Schow.

In terms of less obvious related names, surnames such as Chief, Baas, Boss, Leader, and Lord may also point to a shepherd-based background and could indicate a previous shepherd in the family. These surnames developed in other countries for similar purposes.

Famous people with the name Schafer

  • Schafer Committee Member Sean Schafer
  • Entertainer Logan Schafer
  • Actress Lily Schafer
  • NBA Player Paul Schafer
  • Composer Henry Schafer
  • Architect Friedrich Schafer
  • Biologist Erwin Schafer
  • Author Paul Schafer
  • Music Producer Anne Schafer
  • Television Personality Stephanie Schafer
  • Chef Brian Schafer
  • Activist Caroline Schafer
  • Classical Musician Lincoln Schafer
  • Photographer Jim Schafer
  • Comedian Marcus Schafer
  • Baseball Player Ryan Schafer
  • Record Producer Joel Schafer
  • Basketball Player David Schafer
  • Entrepreneur Eric Schafer
  • Senator Robert Schafer

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