History of your Surname
Get access to Wolf family records.Start a 14-Day Free Trial

Wolf Family History

Wolf Surname Meaning

German English Dutch and Danish: from a short form of the various ancient Germanic compound names with the first element wolf ‘wolf’ or a byname or nickname with this meaning or a topographic or habitational name referring to a house distinguished by the sign of a wolf. The wolf was native throughout the forests of Europe including Britain until comparatively recently. In ancient and medieval times it played an important role in ancient Germanic mythology being regarded as one of the sacred beasts of Woden. The surname of German origin is also found in many other parts of Europe e.g. in France (Alsace and Lorraine) Poland Hungary Czechia Slovakia Slovenia and Croatia often as a German translation of local equivalents. In North America this surname has absorbed cognates from other languages e.g. Hungarian Farkas Czech and Slovak Vlk Slovenian Volk Ukrainian and Slovenian Vovk Slovenian Croatian and Serbian Vuk and also Czech Slovenian Croatian Slovak and Hungarian Volf . In part this is a Gottscheerish (i.e. Gottschee German) surname originating from the Kočevsko region in Lower Carniola Slovenia (see Kocevar ). Compare De Wolf Wolfe Wolff Woolf Woulfe and Wulf . Jewish (Ashkenazic): from the Yiddish male personal name Volf meaning ‘wolf’ which is associated with the Hebrew personal name Binyamin (see Benjamin ). This association stems from Jacob's dying words ‘Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey and at night he shall divide the spoil’ (Genesis 49:27). Compare Volf . Irish: variant of Woulfe . Native American: translation into English (and shortening) of a personal name based on a word such as Lakota Sioux šuŋgmanitu and Chippewa ma'iingan meaning ‘wolf’. The importance of the wolf to Native Americans is reflected in their traditional personal names many of which were adopted as surnames (translated into English) e.g. Black Wolf (see Blackwolf ) and Little Wolf (see Littlewolf ).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022

Similar surnames: Nolf, Rolf, Wall, Wold, Wolff, Wolfer, Wald, Wolfe, Bolt, Soll

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the Wolf family from?

You can see how Wolf families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Wolf family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Wolf families were found in USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 207 Wolf families living in London. This was about 35% of all the recorded Wolf's in United Kingdom. London had the highest population of Wolf families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Wolf surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Wolf ancestors do for a living?

In 1939, Private Means and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the United Kingdom named Wolf. 16% of Wolf men worked as a Private Means and 68% of Wolf women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named Wolf were Jeweller and Unpaid Domestic. .

View Census Data for Wolf | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1939

  • Private Means
  • Retired
  • General Labourer
  • Jeweller

Top Female Occupations In 1939

  • Unpaid Domestic Duties
  • Private Means
  • Domestic Servant
  • Unpaid Domestic
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Wolf family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 485,000 census records available for the last name Wolf. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Wolf census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Australian census records for Wolf

Passenger Lists

There are 89,000 immigration records available for the last name Wolf. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Australia, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Wolf immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 135,000 military records available for the last name Wolf. For the veterans among your Wolf ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Wolf military records

You've only scratched the surface of Wolf family history

Discover More

What is the average Wolf lifespan?

Between 1943 and 2004, in the United States, Wolf life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2004. The average life expectancy for Wolf in 1943 was 33, and 78 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Wolf

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Wolf family tree

Explore Your Tree

Browse profiles of historical people with the Wolf last name

Search for another surname
Enter last name/surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial