Old German First Names

Updated: May 11, 2022
These Old German names come from ancient Germanic tradition and are strong and unique. Learn about popular old Germanic names for girls and boys to find baby name inspiration.
Table of contents

Many of the names you will see on this list are old and traditional German names that aren’t as popular are they used to be. However, many of them have lovely origins and meanings. You could find the perfect name on this list for your new baby if you have German ancestors. If you were given an Old High German or an Old low German name, you may find it here and learn a little bit more about your heritage. Below we will also talk about German naming traditions.

Old German names image

German Naming Traditions

The German people actually gave their child two given names or “forenames.” The first was a common name such as “Karl” that was used for legal documents. The second name was the one that was used every day by friends and family. This was also known as the “Rufname.” Although, this wouldn’t be that person’s legally given name.
When it comes to choosing a new for a new baby, this was chosen by the new parents. These days, there aren’t many rules when it comes to picking out the perfect name. As long as it doesn’t negatively impact the child and is approved by the local civil registry office, there are no restrictions. There are actually few differences in the popular names between northern and southern Germany.

Old German Boy Names

  1. Alfonso - This name is Old German for “noble and ready.”
  2. Bruno - This German first name means “Brown’s son.”
  3. Carl/Karl - This variation of “Charles” means “free man” in Old German.
  4. Conrad/Konrad - This German name means “brave counsel.”
  5. Christoph - This is the German form of “Christopher” which means “Christ-bearer” in Greek.
  6. Dietrich - This boy’s name means “ever-powerful ruler” in German.
  7. Emil - This name has Latin roots and it means “eager.”
  8. Ernst - This Old German first name means “vigorous.”
  9. Friedrich - This first name was also a traditional German family name. It is a combination of the elements “Fred” which means “peace” and “ric” which means “power.”
  10. Fritz - This is the short form of “Frederick” or “Friedrich.” It means “peaceful ruler” in German.
  11. Georg - This first name for a baby boy has Greek roots and means “farmer.”
  12. Gunther - This is a German variation of “Gunter.” The name means “war” in Old Norse.
  13. Hans - This name means “the Lord is gracious” in Scandinavian.
  14. Jakob - This is the German form of “Jacob” and it is Hebrew for “supplanter.”
  15. Johann - This name is German for “God is gracious.”
  16. Leon - This is a traditionally German name that has Greek roots. It means “lion-hearted” in both languages.
  17. Leopold - This name is Old German for “bold leader.”
  18. Lukas - This is the German form of “Lucas” and it means “bringer of light” in both Latin and English.
  19. Otto - In German, this baby boy's name means “wealthy.”
  20. Wolfgang - This name became popular around the 10th century because of Bishop Wolfgang of Regensberg. It is a combination of “wolf” (which refers to the animal) and “ganc” which means “going.”

Old German Girl Names

  1. Adelaide - This girl’s name is German for “noble kind.”
  2. Aloysia - In Old German, this name means “famous in war” or “warrior maiden.”
  3. Astrid - This German name has roots in Old Norse where it means “super strength.”
  4. Brigitte - This German name has Irish roots and it means “resolute” or “strong.”
  5. Carol - This is the feminine form of “Carolus” and it means “freeholder” in Old German.
  6. Diane - This German name for a baby girl has roots in Latin where it means “divine.”
  7. Elisabeth - In Hebrew, this name means “consecrated to God.”
  8. Emilia - In Latin, this name means “eager.”
  9. Ernestine - This name is Old German for “earnest” or “vigorous.”
  10. Frieda - In German, this name means “peace.”
  11. Heidi - This is the short form of “Adelheid” and it means “noble and serene” in German.
  12. Holda - This is an Old High German name. It means “to shine.”
  13. Ida - This first name means “youthful” in Old German.
  14. Ilina - This German name for a baby girl is actually the Greek form of “Helen” and it means “light”
  15. Inga - This name means “hero’s daughter” in Scandinavian.
  16. Luise - This is an Old German name that means “warrior maiden.”
  17. Nadine - This German name means “the courage of a bear.” It also has French and Slavic roots.
  18. Steffi - This is a German form of the Greek name “Stephanie” which means “crown.”
  19. Stella - This name is actually derived from the Latin for “star.”
  20. Tanya - This German name has roots in Russian, English, and Slavic languages. It means “fairy princess.