The origin of our family name and its development to the existing, to me known forms - Gehrandt and Gehrand - was not clear to me at all. First I thought that just people with exactly the same last name (Gehrandt) could be related to me. Still, when I studied first church book, I noticed that the way our name was written different quite other. It seemed to depend on the priest, the time and other circumstances. Later Julie Ann Chitwood (Gehrandt) told me that one of her ancestors owned a French bill and she assumed our roots to be in France. She wasn't the only person assuming that. Manfred Gehrandt told me that our last name go back to the french word "gerand" - it is said that it means merchant. During the persecution of the hugenots in Germany, so he assumed, our ancestors survived by changing their last name in a more secure, in a german form. For instance they added -d(t)- at the end.


Some years ago I listened to the radio and by chance, there was a broadcast concerning with family names. Everybody had the possibiliy to call asking for the origin of its last name. And a professor who has still his own chair for family name research at the university of Leipzig requested. It was amazing. There was really a chair for family name research. I couldn't believe it. I decided to write an email to the professor begging him to tell me the origin and the meaning of our last name. And then, I already thought he would never request, he sent this email:


Dear Mister Gehrandt,


in fact, your family name is really rare. Among 40 million entries in the phone book you can find it only 14 times:


Frau Andrea Gehrandt, 16833 Fehrbellin

Frau Cornelia Gehrandt, 89547 Gerstetten, Württ

Herrn Dr. Frank Gehrandt, 16928 Pritzwalk

Herrn Günther Gehrandt, 89547 Gerstetten, Württ

Frau Hildegard Gehrandt, 13059 Berlin

Herrn Holger Gehrandt, 16945 Krempendorf

Frau Karola Gehrandt, Havelberg

Herrn Klaus Gehrandt, 89547 Gerstetten, Württ

Herrn Otto Gehrandt, 16928 Pritzwalk

Frau Petra Gehrandt, 16348 Zerpenschleuse

Frau Regina Gehrandt, 10439 Berlin

Frau Sabine Gehrandt, 16909 Wittstock, Dosse

Herrn Uwe Gehrandt, 89547 Gerstetten, Württ

Herrn Uwe Gehrandt, 89547 Gerstetten, Württ


There are some variants definitely belonging to your name:


Herrn Adolf Gerand, 97078 Würzburg

Herrn Alexander Gerand, 13589 Berlin

Herrn Alexander Gerand, 14167 Berlin

Herrn Alexander Gerand, 21680 Stade, Niederelbe

Herrn Alexander Gerand, 97084 Würzburg

Frau Anna Gerand, 21680 Stade, Niederelbe

Lilia Gerand, 21680 Stade, Niederelbe

M. Gerand, 28239 Bremen

M. Gerand, 58511 Lüdenscheid

Herrn Peter Gerand, 21682 Stade, Niederelbe

Gerandt, 21029 Hamburg

Herrn Hellmut Gerandt, 99819 Krauthausen b Eisenach, Thür

Herrn Ludwig Gerandt, 76761 Rülzheim

Herrn Rolf Gerandt, 47445 Moers

Frau Sigrid Gerandt, 19053 Schwerin, Meckl


I have read the standard works of german family name research, but there was no information about the origin of your last name. I have checked the following books :


H. Bahlow: Deutsches Namenlexikon. Familien- und Vornamen nach Ursprung und Sinn erklärt. 3. Auflage. Frankfurt a. Main 1977 (Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch, Nr. 65).


J.K. Brechenmacher: Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Familiennamen. 2 Bde., Limburg/Lahn 1957-63.


Duden – Familiennamen. Herkunft und Bedeutung, bearb. v. R. u. V. Kohlheim, Mannheim usw. 2000.


E. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch, Bd. 1: Personennamen, Bonn 1900.


M. Gottschald, Deutsche Namenkunde, Berlin-New York 1982.


A. Heintze/P. Cascorbi: Die deutschen Familiennamen. 7. Auflage. Halle/S. 1933.


K. Kunze, dtv-Atlas Namenkunde; Vor- und Familiennamen im deutschen Sprachgebiet, München 1998.


K. Linnartz: Unsere Familiennamen. Bd. 1: Zehntausend Berufsnamen im ABC erklärt; Bd. II: Familiennamen aus deutschen und fremden Vornamen im ABC erklärt. 3. Auflage. Bonn. Hannover. Hamburg 1958.


A. Socin: Mittelhochdeutsches Namenbuch. Nach oberrheinischen Quellen des 12. u. 13. Jahrhunderts. Basel 1903, Nachdruck Darmstadt 1966.


R. Zoder: Familiennamen in Ostfalen. 2 Bde., Hildesheim 1968.


It is highly probable that you have to interpret your family name Ge(h)rand(t) by using other forms. It might be the reason why your family name is so rare.


I suppose that your last name was changed somehow, for example by the administration or in a church book.


There is no logical combination in your last name: we know a lot of combinations with the Teutonic word gairas = ger "spear", for instance Ger-ing, Ger-il-, Ger-bald, Ger-bern, Ger-berg-, Ger-bert, Ger-bod, Ger-burg, Ger-dag, Ger-fried and so on, but Ger-and doesn't make sense. The second part –and- has no meaning at all.


Therefore I assume that your family name Ge(h)rand(t) goes back to another combination. At first I discovered some few Geran's in the german phone book:


Herrn Alfons Geran, 37603 Holzminden

Frau Christine Geran, 65933 Frankfurt am Main

Frau Gabriele Geran, 37603 Holzminden

Herrn Georg Geran, 63628 Bad Soden-Salmünster

Herrn Josef Geran, 49565 Bramsche, Hase

Herrn Michael Geran, 37603 Holzminden

Herrn Mohammad-Baseen Geran, 53757 Sankt Augustin

Geran Najeem, 45143 Essen, Ruhr

Herrn Nikolaus Geran, 65824 Schwalbach am Taunus

Herrn Thomas Geran, Holzminden


Among these people are obviously some person who might be foreigner. But nevertheless there are some "german" Geran's.


There is every indication that your family name is a wrongly spelling of Ge(h)rnand(t). Among 40 million I found this last name about 594 times.


With the help of the standard works you are able to interpret this last name easily. For example in W. Seibicke, Historisches deutsches Vornamenbuch, Bd. 2, Berlin - New York 1998, S. 158, the oldest documentation are in E. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch, Bd. 1: Personennamen, Bonn 1900, Sp. 583.


I'am comparatively sure that this interpretation is correct (although it is possible that it doesn't seem reliable to you ). During our family name researches it is always the same and therefore it is often hard to interpret the last name.


Yours sincerely J. Udolph


After I have read this explanation I couldn't no longer believe of the french origin of our last name. My assumption was partly proved true by Liselott Enders and her book "The Prignitz". It was really fascinating to see that our last name, although referring to the same person, was written so differently. And therefore I assume that our last name goes back to Geran. It's an interpretation close to professor Udolph's one.