Select Klinger Surname Genealogy

Klinger or Klingler is a Germanic surname found in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland primarily.  It is most likely occupational in origin, describing someone who made and sold blades or swords.  The root here is klinge meaning “metal blade” or “sword,” deriving probably from klingen meaning “to ring or clatter.” 

Klinger can also be Jewish.  Some have suggested that the name here might describe a junk dealer, from the German klunker meaning “junk.
"  Klinger could alternatively be a purely ornamental name without any specific meaning.

Select Klinger Resources on The Internet

Select Klinger Ancestry

The German Klingers came from SW Germany.  Hugo de Klingere of Breisgau in present-day Baden-Wurttemberg was recorded around the year 1200.  The name extended into southern Hesse.  The Klinger Legend was said to have happened in the Distelhausen district of southern Hesse sometime in the 15th century. Klingers were recorded nearby at Pfaffen Beerfurth where they were swordsmiths and later mill owners.

Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger, born in Frankfurt,
was a late 18th century dramatist and novelist.  A contemporary of Goethe, his play Sturm und Drang gave name to the Sturm und Drang artistic epoch. 

Klinger and Klingler numbers today are around 16,000 in Germany, 3-4,000 in Austria, and 1-2,000 in Switzerland. Klinger is more common in Germany and Austria, Klingler in Switzerland.  One Klingler family in Switzerland dates from about the year 1500 in St. Gallen.

America.  Early Klingers and Klinglers entered via Pennsylvania.

Philip Klinger and his brother Alexander from Pfaffen Beerfurth left Germany on the Neptune and arrived in Philadelphia in 1751, Philip’s wife Anna dying during the crossing or shortly thereafter.  They settled initially in Reading, Pennsylvania where Alexander, a carpenter, remained.  Some later Klingers here adopted the Clinger spelling.

Sometime in the 1770’s Philip and his second wife Eva migrated with other German pioneers to frontier land in the Mohantango mountains.  They made their home in what came to be known as Klingerstown
.  Klingers have remained there as farmers and mill owners.  The Klinger Lumber Company operates there today.

Meanwhile Theobald Klingler from Weingarten in Germany, close by the border with Switzerland, had arrived in Philadelphia on the Friendship in 1738.  He settled in Heidelberg township, Berks county.  His son John, sometimes Clingler, fought in the Revolutionary War and moved to Clermont county, Ohio.  Later Klinglers were to be found in Kentucky and Indiana.

The German immigrant Karl Christoff Klinger had settled in Fredericksburg, Lebanon county.   His son Henry migrated to Hocking county, Ohio in the early 1800's.  David Klinger, born there in 1846, moved to western Kansas.  Christian Klinger, a shoemaker, and his wife Judith came to Pennsylvania around 1817.  They eventually settled in Wooster, Ohio.

Later Arrivals.  Georg Heinrich Klinger departed Hesse for America in 1830 and married and settled down in Illinois.  In 1852 they uprooted themselves to Texas, first to Austin and then to Llano City where the spelling changed to Clinger.  Their descendants have held regular reunions.

August Klinger arrived in Wisconsin from Prussia in the 1880's.  His son William, born there, became one of the leading builders of NW Iowa.

  The Klingers were Jewish immigrants in London from Poland in the 1910's.  Their son Michael Klinger started off in London's East End markets and became a film producer.

Select Klinger Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Klinger Names

Philip Klinger was a pioneer settler in the Mahantongo mountains of western Pennsylvania in the 1770’s.  
Michael Klinger
, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants in London, became a successful British film producer and  distributor

Select Klingers Today
  • 300 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 5,500 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania) 
  • 600 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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