This is not suprisingly a name of German origins, and one which has a very amusing origin. It is a developed form of the Middle High German 'Nafsen' which literally means 'to take a nap', and the medieval surname is apparently one of endearment for 'a sleepy head'! German etymology is liberally sprinkled with similar made up or ornamental surnames. This is very curious given the highly pragmatic nature of the inhabitants of the country. Be that as it may 'Nafzger' is well recorded in its home country particularly in the provinces of Bayern and Wuertt. The relative popularity of the recordings perhaps suggests that the original meaning may not be quite the same as the later translation, medieval wit in the medieval times being rather more robust than today. We understand that the surname was known in Wuertt as early as the 14th century, but we have no proven records to support that hypothesis. However late medieval church records do include Jakob Nafziger, son of Xtian and Magdalena Nafziger, christened at Mittelfranken, Bayern, on July 24th 1595, and Joerg Naftzger, christened at Neckarkreis, Wuertt, on April 18th 1610. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lienhardt Nafzger, which was dated October 11th 1584, married Anna Buol at Mittelfranken, Bayern, during the reign of Emperor Rudolf 11, of the German Empire, 1576 - 1612. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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