Recorded as Gansbuhler, Gansbieler, Gansbiller, this is a Germanic surname. It is occupational and describes either a goose shepherd, one responsible for looking after the goose on a farm, or possibly a goose ward, a soldier who was in charge of the geese at a castle or fort, when they were used as watch "dogs". It was found many centuries ago in Ancient Rome that geese were far better than dogs at maintaining an alert. Unlike dogs they did not go to sleep at night, preferring to graze. In so doing even when resting they still kept a weather eye open for strangers, and were very capable of creating a serious disturbance. In addition they were excellent if rather messy at keeping the grass down, and finally, they tasted much better than anything else! Medieval occupational surnames only usually became hereditary when a son followed the father into the same skill or business. In this case the first known recording is that of Cuonradus Geinsebuhl, of Lubeck in 1279.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017