KLEISER - The Name and the Origin

The surname KLEISER was derived from the Christian name "Klaus", which is also a variation from the name "Nikolaus". Throughout the centuries, the name has taken on a variety (and still does) of spellings. The name first appeared in Europe as KLAUSER. Although there have been various spellings such as CLEISER, GLEISER, CLEYSER, CLAISER, KLEYSER, CLEUSER early on as well. Using a "C" in place of "K" was very common in early Germany, not just an Americanization of the name. Between the 12th and 15th centuries, Europeans primarily used Christian names. Most of the family surnames were formed by adding, for example, the Christian name of the father or the name of the farm or village in which they lived. The very same name could have changed spellings in various ways. The "er" ending in the name indicates that the name originated where the Alemmanishe Dialect was spoken (the region of the Black Forest, on both sides of the Rhine where France, Switzerland and Germany connect.The specific spelling KLEISER came into existence in a rather limited area of the southern Black forest around the villages of Furtwangen, Vohrenbach and Neustadt sometime between the 1400 and 1600's. Today the KLEISER surname is very common in the Black Forest and in Switzerland.As you can see, the surname is very old. According to German sources there were four farms from which many KLEISER families came during the past 400 to 500 years:

1) KLAUSBUBENHOF - located in the village of Langenordnach

2) KLEISERHOF - at Titisee - Jostal

3) UNTERROTURENHOF - at Vohrenbach - Urach.



One of the most famous of all surnames of Germanic origins, and recorded in some fifty spelling ranging from Klaus, Kloss and Koilas, to Kollatsch, Kulik and Clausen, this is a shortform or nickname. It derives from the ancient Greek name "Nikolaos", which as a surname is perhaps even more popular than Klaus! Either way the name translates as "The conquering people", a theme which no doubt contributed to its huge popularity. The Great Crusades to supposedly free the Holy Land and particularly Jerusalem, from the Saracens, in the 11th and 12th century, lead to a further boost for Klaus and its derivatives. It was the fashion for returning crusaders and pilgrims to call their children by early biblical or hebrew names, or names associated with Ancient Greece. It was from Greece that most of the crusades were launched. There were twelve in all, and all failed, but it did not dent the enthusiasm for the names. This was to lead to much confusion later, when it was realised in the "age of enlightenment", that many Christian familys carry, and still continue to carry, Hebrew or Jewish names such as Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph, as surnames. With this name the earliest of all recordings are to be found in German charters and registers of the medieval period. These include examples such as Henricus Claus of Eblingen in 1323, Wolframus Klusner of Goddelau in 1398, and Tobias Clausnitzer of Thun, christened there in 1619. The earliest of all recordings is probably that of Uzo Claus of Eblingen, Germany, in the charters of that city for the year 1294.

8Also, throughout the years of research on our old surname, it became very evident how many Kleiser's were involved in Watchmaking and Clockmaking. From the Black Forest of Germany, beyond to Norway and England.
A good portion of this information provided by Paul B. Kleiser, Munich, Germany.

The following documents were sent to me from Synove Kildal (born a Kleiser) from Oslo, Norway. The first document is copied from a book called CHRONIK UND FAMILIENGESCHICHTE VON NEUSTADT (SCHWARZWALD) When the town was 700 years old in 1951. There is an amazing collection of KLEISER'S / CLEISER'S in this document. It's intriguing to see the various spellings even in the old country. As you can see in the document, there is an Anna Cleiser listed here in 1598 ! The document is in German, however, Synove did supply a second document with some translations for us.