We assure you that these are all real surnames. We have added random first names so as to protect innocent people from ridicule – and for comic effect.
Friedrich Vormelker (Pre-milker)
The German phonebook is awash with surnames like Müller, Jäger and Meier. And this makes perfect sense. Every community back in feudal times needed a miller, a hunter and a manager.
Some ye oldie professions seem harder to explain. What exactly the farmland function of a Vormelker was is beyond us. We imagine though, given that Melker (Milker) is also a surname, the Vormelkers always had to make do with being the warm up act to the main event.
Hildegard Handschuh (Glove)
Given some of the other names on this Hildegard can perhaps consider herself lucky. It's a shame for her that the word Handschuh conjured such strange images in an Anglophone's head – but that is our fault not hers. According to forebears.io the name stems from a profession of glove makers. There are still over 2,000 Handschuhs in the world today.
Thomas Trinkenschuh (Drink-shoe)
Talking of shoes serving a strange purpose, we can only guess what Thomas' forebears got up to. Perhaps they were responsible for creating the legendary beer boot so beloved in German bars in the US.
Bruno Bierhals (Beer-throat)
There are several German surnames that seem to pay tribute to a person’s love for the liquor. Among our favourites are Saufhaus (Drink-house) and Bierwagen (Beer-cart). We can only imagine Mr. Kotz (Vomit) spent a bit too much time round at the Saufhauses.
A beer cart on Father's Day. Photo: DPA
Katarina Eierkuchen (Eggcake)
It isn’t all about boozing though. As we all know, Germans love their sweet desserts – so why not take your name from one? While an egg cake might not sound like the most exquisite thing going, Hans Sauermilch (Sour-milk) is in no place to poke fun.
Bärbel Durchdenwald (Through-the-forest)
Someone back in days of yore either really liked going on walks in the forest or lived on the other side of one. Perhaps irritated neighbours were so sick of explaining the directions to the family home that they decide to name them after the way there.
Nika Nachtnebel (night fog)
One can only conclude that there was something of the night about Nina's forbears. We also happen to know the perfect companion for her: Karl Kühlmorgen (Cool-morning).
Lothar Leichenberg (Pile-of-corpses)
Trust Germany to get super, super dark with some of its surnames.
We just don’t want to know what Herr Leichenberg’s ancestors did. Want to go a level darker? Judenfeind (Jew enemy) is a real German surname, but then again, so is Judenfreund (Jew-friend). At least people nailed their colours to the mast back then.
Meanwhile the surname Frauenschläger (Women-beater) makes Helmut Katzenschläger (Cat-beater) sound positively cuddly.
Katja Kitzler (Tickler)
If this lady’s name is anything to go by, she must be a favourite auntie. Kitzler doesn’t just simply the innocent fun of a bit of tickle torture though, the name is also a nickname for the clitoris.
While Katja's name no doubt gave her classmates a good giggle, we can only imagine the look on the teachers' faces when they had to call out Willi Fickbaum's (F*ck tree) name every morning.