Select Ziegler Surname Genealogy

Ziegler is a German occupational name for a brickmaker or bricklayer, derived from the German ziegel, meaning originally “roof tile” and later “brick,” and from ziegelbrenner meaning brickmaker.  Ziegler and Zeigler have been the spellings in America.  Ziegler can also be a Jewish name.

Select Ziegler Resources on The Internet

Select Ziegler Ancestry

Although the Ziegler name is quite common throughout Germany, it has been most frequently found in the south and southwest of the country, in particular in Bavaria.

There was an early reference to Ulreich der Zigler in the town of Eger on the border between Bavaria and Bohemia in 1340.  The theologian and cartographer Jacob Ziegler was born at Landau in Bavaria in 1470; while Margarethe Ziegler, the mother of the theologian Martin Luther, was born at Neustadt in Bavaria in 1463.  And a noble Ziegler family held estates in the Bavarian cities of Noerdlingen, Nuremburg and Munich.

The Ziegler numbers are around 65,000 in Germany today, with an additional 5,000 in Switzerland and 4,000 in Austria.

.   Pennsylvania provided the first landing point.  Indeed, even by the time of the 1840 census, Pennsylvania accounted for 60% of all the Zieglers and Zeiglers in America.

Michael Ziegler appeared on “a list of all the poor Germans lately come over from the Palatinate taken on May 6, 1709.”  He was recorded as an illiterate 25-year-old cloth and linen weaver who was single and Lutheran.  He and later his son Andreas became prominent Mennonite preachers at Skippack in Montgomery county.

Abraham Ziegler, a great grandson of immigrant Michael, moved to Butler county in 1815 where he had purchased the village of Harmony and established a Mennonite meetinghouse there.  A branch of the family settled in Marlborough township in Montgomery county where they called themselves Zeigler and developed Zeigler’s Apple Cider.

George Philip Ziegler came with his family from Baden to Pennsylvania in 1727 and settled to farm in York county:
  • his son Johann Jacob was briefly captured and imprisoned during a territorial dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland in 1736.
  • while Johann Philip later (befitting his Ziegler name) was a pioneer in the brick-making trade in York.
This Ziegler line - tracing fourteen generations, beginning with the earlier family history in Germany and continuing with later Zieglers in the Midwest - was covered in Allen Ziegler’s 2010 book Hans Georg Ziegler's Progress.

Another early Ziegler settler in York county was Nicholas Ziegler who arrived in 1748 and made his home in Codorus township.  His probable grandson Peter Ziegler, born around 1760, is considered the progenitor of the Ziegler family which held their family reunion in Pennsylvania in 1933 (at which more than two hundred descendants attended).  John Ziegler’s 1935 book Ziegler Genealogy dealt with this family’s history.

Philip Ziegler from Bern in Switzerland came with his family in 1746 and settled in a farm near Rehersburg in Berks county.  There were five generations of Zieglers living in the family homestead where in the 19th century they constructed a Ziegler meetinghouse.  Here the reference is Jesse Ziegler’s 1906 book The Ziegler Family Record.

  Some Ziegler lines started in Pennsylvania but moved elsewhere.

David Ziegler, for instance, was a professional soldier who arrived from Germany in 1775 and fought in the Revolutionary War.  After the war he was a captain in the US army and served on the Ohio valley frontier.  He settled in Cincinnati and was its mayor in 1802. 
Cincinnati's Ziegler Park on Sycamore Street was named after him.

William Ziegler was born in Beaver county in 1843 but moved to Iowa when he was a small boy.  He went to New York where he became an agent and then a shareholder of the Royal Chemical Company.  In 1899 he combined three baking companies, including the Royal Chemical Company, to form the new Royal Baking Powder Corporation.

John Ziegler from York county was a Union doctor during the Civil War.  His line extended to Maryland and to the Midwest before John Bosley Ziegler returned to Pennsylvania and pioneered the use of anabolic steroids to weightlifters in the late 1950’s.

Some Zieglers of course did not come via Pennsylvania. George Ziegler from Bavaria, for instance, went to Wisconsin with his family in 1845 and later, in 1861, joined a family candy-making business in Milwaukee.  He became its sole owner in 1874 and the company prospered under him and his son Frank.  The George Ziegler Company continued in operation until 1972.

Johannes Ziegler from Baden arrived in New York in 1857 and decided to follow the Gold Rush to California.  This did not work out.  So instead he settled to farm at a German community in Saginaw county, Michigan.  His descendants are still farming at the original Tuscola Road homestead that Johannes bought.

Zeiglers in South Carolina and Alabama.
  David Zeigler had come with his large family to South Carolina from Wurttemburg in 1753 and was among the founders of Orangeburg.  Many of his descendants remained in the Orangeburg district.  Some went by the Seigler name. 

But a line from Jacob Zeigler, a Revolutionary War veteran who had received a land grant in what is now Elmore county in Alabama, moved there in the late 1810’s.

“Large numbers of the Zeigler family from Orangeburg, together with other settler families, followed the old Federal road into what was Alabama territory in a train of more than sixty wagons with an army escort.”

Jacob’s son William operated a cotton plantation at Robinson Springs.  His house, built around 1825, remained with the family until 2005 (it has recently been torn down).  William also helped found the Robinson Springs Methodist church where nine generations of Zeiglers have been christened.

By the early 1900’s the Zeiglers were very numerous in the area.

“There were so many Zeiglers by the name of William that it was difficult to keep up with them - William Zeigler, Billy Zeigler, ‘Sawmill’ Billy Zeigler, Will Zeigler, and ‘Leatherhead’ Will Zeigler.  They were all what we might call characters. There also was also the family of Tom Zeigler and, on the other side of the road, the family of Judge Zeigler and his wife Belle.”

.  Various Zieglers from Baden made the journey from Germany to farm in Waterloo County, Ontario in the 1840’s.  The first to arrive was probably Jacob Ziegler who came with his wife Elizabeth in 1844.  John D. Ziegler was there by 1845 and Henry and his wife Catherine by 1848.  Moses Ziegler, grandson of Jacob, was born there in 1868.  He was a Mennonite and later farmed in Arran township, Bruce county.

Gustav Frederick Ziegler was first recorded in Didsbury in the 1880’s when German and Jewish immigrants began coming to this middle-class area of south Manchester.

His son Colin Louis Ziegler had a distinguished World War One record, before retiring to his new home at Picket Orchard in the New Forest after the war.  He and his wife Dora raised two sons there, Oliver and Philip.  Philip Ziegler joined the Foreign Office.  He later became a well-known English historian and biographer

Select Ziegler Miscellany

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

Select Ziegler Names

Calvin Ziegler was a German-American poet who flourished in the late 1800’s.  He wrote in his native Pennsylvania Dutch and did much to spur a revival in Pennsylvania Dutch writing.
John Ziegler
was the American physician who pioneered the use of the anabolic steroid Dianabol for weightlifters that was released in 1958.
Philip Ziegler
is a distinguished English historian and biographer.

Select Zieglers Today
  • 16,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania) 
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in UK)

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.

Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page