Recorded in several spellings including Gans, Ganz, Gantz, Ganzer, Ganser, Gantzer, Gantzman, and possibly others, this is a medieval German surname. It has three possible origins. The first is occupation and describes a goose farmer, from the pre 7th century word "gans" meaning goose. The second is residential and describes somebody who lives at a goose farm, or possibly a village so-named, whilst the third possibility is a nickname. Some fifteen percent of all surnames derive from nicknames associated with animals, birds, and parts of the human body. Over the centuries those considered to be unseemly for whatever reason, and in some cases for very good reasons (!), have largely disappeared, those that are left were clearly complimentary. In this case we have found some very early examples of the surname recording in Germany, going back to the very beginings of hereditary surnames in the 13th and 14th century. These recordings include Konrad Ganser, in the charters of the city of Konstanz, for the year 1337, and Heinrich Gantz of Coln in 1426. Later recordings taken from authentic church registers include Adolphine Gantzer of Minden, Germany on November 19th 1829, and Charles Gantzen who married Harriott Read, at the church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, London, England, on October 17th 1841.
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