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Updated June 9, 2019

Family name origins & meanings

  • German, North German, and Dutch : topographic name for someone who lived by a patch of ground overgrown with thistles, or perhaps a nickname for a ‘prickly’ person, from Middle High German, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch distel ‘thistle’.
  • Jewish (Ashkenazic) : probably in most cases an unflattering name bestowed on Jews by non-Jewish government officials in 18th- and 19th-century central Europe.

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