Recorded in a number of spellings including Kautz, Kausche, Kauschke, and Kauscher, this is a German surname. It is believed to have originated from the pre-medieval word "kautz" meaning an owl or night bird, and as such was a nickname for a person who was perceived by his compatriots to have the character and attitudes of such a bird. As to what these were is unclear, but they may have referred to such diverse characteristics as a light sleeper, or a person who went about his business (?) at night. At least fifteen percent of all European surnames have a proven origination in a nickname, and there seems no reason to suppose that this is not another example. It is however a truism that appears in many early books and fables, that a large number, perhaps even the majority of nickname surnames, may have a meaning which was the complete opposite of what they appear to describe. A good example of the genre was "Little John", the largest member of the famous band of Robin Hood's outlaws. Examples of the surname recording taken from the early surviving rolls and registers of Germany include: Konrad Kautz, a citizen of Stuttgart in 1492, Hans Kaucher, who married Anna Regina Lincke, at Karlsruhe, Baden, on November 16th 1686, Baltzer Kauschke who married Maria Kothe at Thommendorf, Pfalz, on November 6th 1690, and Friederike Johanne Kausche, who married Carl Belfort, at Paderborg, Westfalen, on February 2nd 1868.
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