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

Origins Available: Dutch, English, German, Jewish

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

The distinguished surname Winkler emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The Winkler family originally lived in the settlement of Wynkel in Flanders. The surname Winkler belongs to the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads, or other places. Alternatively the name could have been a nickname referring to "the winkle" as in a periwinkle.

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Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Winkler, Winkle, Windle, Winkel, Wynkler, Wynkle and others.

First found in Cheshire where one of the first records of the name was "Winchul" c. 1200 in East Cheshire. The next reference found was that of John le Wenchel who was listed in the Hundred Rolls of 1271 in Buckinghamshire. [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Winkler research. Another 89 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Winkler History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Winkler Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Winkler family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 194 words(14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Winkler or a variant listed above:

Winkler Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Anna Catarina Winkler, aged 43, arrived in South Carolina in 1732
  • Frederick Winkler, aged 3, landed in South Carolina in 1732
  • Jaque Winkler, aged 19, arrived in South Carolina in 1732
  • Luis Winkler, aged 6, arrived in South Carolina in 1732
  • Jacob Winkler, who arrived in South Carolina in 1735


Winkler Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Jakob Winkler, who landed in Texas in 1844
  • Johanna Winkler, who landed in New York in 1850
  • Kreszentia Epple Winkler, who landed in America in 1850
  • Eduard Winkler, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Gottwald Winkler came to Philadelphia in 1850


Winkler Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Christine Winkler, aged 24, landed in America in 1900
  • Carolina Winkler, aged 20, landed in America in 1900
  • Anastasia Winkler, aged 48, arrived in America in 1900
  • Phillip Winkler, aged 50, landed in America in 1900
  • Margretha Winkler, aged 15, arrived in America in 1900


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  • Henry Winkler OBE (b. 1945), American Golden Globe and Daytime Emmy Award winning actor, director, producer, and author, probably best known for his role as "The Fonz" in the 1970s sitcom Happy Days
  • Andrew Winkler, American mathematician and inventor
  • Irwin Winkler (b. 1931), American Academy Award and BAFTA Award winning film producer and director, known for his films Rocky, They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Raging Bull, The Right Stuff and Goodfellas
  • Clemens Alexander Winkler (1838-1904), German chemist
  • Eugen Gottlob Winkler (1912-1936), German writer and essayist
  • Alexander Winkler (b. 1992), German footballer
  • Alexander "Gustav" Adolfovich Winkler (1865-1935), Russian pianist, composer and music educator of German descent
  • Gerhard Winkler (1951-1980), German bronze medalist biathlete at the 1980 Winter Olympics
  • Professor Hans Winkler (1877-1945), German botanist
  • Harry William Winkler Jr. (b. 1945), former Olympic ballhandler

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  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  11. ...

The Winkler Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Winkler 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 June 2014 at 15:49.

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