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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the German Knopf family come from? What is the German Knopf family crest and coat of arms? When did the Knopf family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Knopf family history?

The history of the Knopf family dates back to the 12th century, when hereditary surnames first began to be used in Germany. The name Knopf comes from Bavaria, and is derived from the Old German word "Knopf," meaning "button"; thus, it is a name for a maker of buttons, usually of horn.

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Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Knopf include Knopfler, Knopf, Knopfle, Knoepfel, Knoepfle, Knoepfli, Knoepfler, Knoff, Knof, Knofler, Knoffler, Knopfer, Knop, Knopler, Knauff, Knauffer, Knauffel and many more.

First found in Bavaria, where this family made important contributions toward the development of this district from ancient times. Ancient chronicles first mention the knight Johann Knop of Thuringia in 1368, Michel Knoepfle of Ravensburg in 1476, and Knoepfelman of Speyer in 1334.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knopf research. Another 182 words(13 lines of text) covering the years 1480, 1728, 1769, 1842, 1874, and 1895 are included under the topic Early Knopf History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 38 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knopf Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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European migration to North America began in the mid-17th century and continued unabated until the mid-20th. Many Bavarians made the long trip to escape poverty or persecution based on their religious beliefs. The chance for tenant farmers to own their own land was also a major drawing card. They settled all across the United States in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Many came to Canada also, settling in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Analysis of immigration records has shown some of the first Knopfs to arrive in North America, and among them were:

Knopf Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Christian Knopf, who landed in America in 1778
  • Heinrich Knopf, who sailed to America in 1779
  • Heinrich Knopf, who arrived in America in 1779

Knopf Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Felix Knopf, who settled in Mississippi in 1844
  • Felix Knopf, who landed in Mississippi in 1844
  • Peter and Marie Knopf, who immigrated to Texas in 1845
  • Frederick Knopf, who arrived in Texas in 1850-1906

Knopf Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Friedrika Knopf, aged 32, landed in New York, NY in 1901
  • Gotthilf Knopf, aged 7, arrived in New York, NY in 1901
  • Gustav Knopf, aged 7, landed in America in 1901
  • Bertha Knopf, who arrived in New York, NY in 1901
  • Hulda Knopf, aged 3, landed in New York, NY in 1901


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  • Adolph Knopf (1882-1966), American eologist from San Francisco
  • Alfred Knopf Jr. (1892-1984), well-known American publisher
  • Kenyon Knopf, American economist
  • Edwin H. Knopf (1899-1981), American film producer, director and screenwriter
  • Philip Knopf (1847-1920), American politician, Member of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois
  • Heinrich Knopf (1839-1875), German luthier


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  1. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
  2. Rupp, Daniel L. A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2000. Print. (ISBN 978-0806303024).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Kneschke, Dr. Ernest Heinrich. Neues allgemeines Deutsches Adels-Lexicon 9 Volumes New General German Aristocracy Lexicon. Leipzig: Friedrich Voigt, 1859. Print.
  5. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
  11. ...

The Knopf Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Knopf Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 4 January 2014 at 13:23.

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