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Surname Schaff - Meaning and Origin

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Schaff: What does the surname Schaff mean?

The last name Schaff is of German origin and dates back to the 1100s. It is derived from the Middle High German word “schaf” meaning “shepherd”. This denotes that those with the surname were likely professional shepherds or farmers. The name is found most commonly in Germany and Switzerland, with less common variants being Scheff and Schaffe.

The surname and its variants have existed for hundreds of years, appearing in records in 16th-century Germany in Bavaria and throughout Switzerland. Over the years, those bearing the name have often been involved in various professions such as law, military, religion and in some cases, even royalty.

Today, people with the name Schaff can be found throughout many places in the world. Those who retain the name often associate it with its meaning of “shepherd” as a reminder of their ancestry. It has also become well-known due to its relation to the Merz-Schaffhausen family, a prominent Swiss banking dynasty during the 19th century.

The name Schaff can be seen as a symbol of strength, hard work and dedication. From its origins to today, those carrying the name continue to honor its meaning in their lives.

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Schaff: Where does the name Schaff come from?

The last name Schaff is most commonly found in Germany and Austria. It is also found in Scandinavia, the United States, and other parts of Europe. The Schaff surname is of German origin, deriving from a word meaning "sheep", and is likely derived from an occupational name for a shepherd.

In Germany, the Schaff is mainly found in the eastern and northern regions. In Austria, it is most commonly found in the states of Vorarlberg, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Salzburg. In Scandinavia, Schaff is mainly found in the region from around Osnabruck to East Prussia (now northern Poland).

In the United States, Schaff can be found across the country although concentrated in the Midwest. The first Schaff to arrive in America was Gottfried Schaff, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1770. It's believed he and his descendants moved around the Midwest in the early 1800s, settling in Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota.

It is also worth noting that Schaff is a variation of other surnames such as Schaffner, Schaffer, and Schaefer. Therefore, it may be found in other countries outside the ones listed above.

Variations of the surname Schaff

The surname Schaff is one of the many German surnames that have been around since ancient times today. It is thought to have originated from the Middle High German word ‘schaff’, meaning a ‘sheaf’ of corn. There are a number of variants and spellings that have taken shape over the years due to the evolution of the language, including Schaffer, Shaffer, Shaffer, Shave, Sheaff, Sheaffs, Schaefer and Schaeffer.

The letters ‘f’ and ‘ph’ were used interchangeably in the Middle High German language. As a result, the same name could be spelled in different ways. Some of the variants of the surname Schaff include Shaff, Schaffe, Shaffe, Schaaf, Shaffa, Schaaff, Schaaffe, Schaph and Shaph.

The surname Schaff has also been anglicized. Spelling variations include Shaffer, Schaeffer, Schaefer, Shaver, Sheaff, Sheaffs, Schaffer and Schafferer. All of these spellings are the Americanized versions of the German last name.

In Germany, variations of the surname Schaff include Schpf, Schaffenberger, Schaffner and Schafflin. In Jewish communities, the surname is often spelled Schaf or Shaff, while in Russia, it is spelled Shaf.

Many immigrants from Germany brought the surname with them when they first came to America. It is thought to have first been used by German Mennonite, Amish and Quaker immigrants in Pennsylvania, while other variations of the name were spread throughout the country according to the locations of the various immigrant families.

Famous people with the name Schaff

  • Daniel Schaff, American professional Baseball player.
  • Bill Schaff, American singer and guitarist for the rock band Fuel.
  • Daniel Schaffner, German chess Grandmaster
  • Elmer Schaff, American professional Baseball player
  • Ernest Schaff, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Horace Schaff, American theologian
  • John Schaff, American minister and social activist
  • Dan Schaffner, American real estate agent
  • Julian Schaff, Swiss composer and musician
  • Gottfried Schaffer, German entrepreneur and naturalist
  • Jost Schaff, German publicist
  • Robert Schaff, German soldier in World War II
  • Julius Schaff, American military chorister
  • Józef Schaff, Polish playwright and politician
  • Karl Schaff, German resistance Movement fighter
  • Joseph Schaff, American composer
  • Henri Schaff, Canadian social worker
  • Franz Schaff, Austrian-American composer
  • Helena Schaff, American painter
  • Albrecht Schaff, German pianist and composer

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