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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: German, Jewish

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

The name Kleiner comes from the German province known as the Rhineland. In pre-medieval times, the German people used only one name, but as the population increased, hereditary surnames became necessary for people to maintain unique identities. Kleiner is a nickname surname, a style of name based on an eke-name, or added name, that described a characteristic of its original bearer. Kleiner is a name for a small or short person deriving its origin from the German word "klien," which means "small."


In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Kleiner include Klein, Kleinn, Kleine, Kleinne, Kleyn, Kleynn, Kline, Clein, Clein, Cline, Kleiner, Klinertz and many more.

First found in the Rhineland, where the name came from humble beginnings but gained a significant reputation for its contribution to the emerging mediaeval society. It later became more prominent as many branches of the same house acquired distant estates and branches, some in foreign countries, always elevating their social status by their great contributions to society.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kleiner research. Another 491 words(35 lines of text) covering the years 1708, 1745, 1761, 1790, 1818, 1777, 1609, 1666, 1849 and 1925 are included under the topic Early Kleiner History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 71 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kleiner Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


The great European flow of migration to North America, which began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century, was particularly attractive to those from the Rhineland who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. Many of those who left the Rhineland to seek their fortunes in the prosperous and free New World settled in the major urban centers of the United States and Canada. In the United States, the settlers from the Rhineland passed through immigration centers like that of Ellis Island, most of them moving on to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, the majority of Rhinelanders settled in Ontario and the prairie provinces. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many important settlers to North America bearing the name Kleiner, or one of its variants above:

Kleiner Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Rudolf Kleiner, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1743
  • Rupert Kleiner, who landed in America in 1783

Kleiner Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Wilhelm Kleiner, aged 1, arrived in New York, NY in 1850
  • Elizabeth Kleiner, aged 23, arrived in New York, N Y in 1850
  • J Kleiner, aged 29, arrived in New York, NY in 1850
  • Paul Kleiner, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854
  • Louis Kleiner, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1855


  • Bruce Kleiner Ph.D., American mathematician
  • Krista Arrieta Kleiner, Filipino-American TV actress/singer and host
  • Richard Arthur "Dick" Kleiner (1921-2002), Hollywood columnist, best remembered for his column "Ask Dick Kleiner"
  • Eugene Kleiner (1923-2003), American venture capitalist, co-founder of what would become Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Israel Simon Kleiner (1885-1966), American biochemist
  • John J. Kleiner (1845-1911), American politician, US Representative from Indiana
  • Morris M. Kleiner (b. 1948), American professor of public affairs
  • Alfred Kleiner (1849-1916), Swiss physicist, professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Zürich, advisor to Albert Einstein
  • Michael Kleiner (b. 1948), Israeli politician, leader of Herut – The National Movement
  • Sergio Kleiner (b. 1936), Argentine soap opera star


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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Tobler-Meyer, Wilhelm. Familiennamen der Ostschweiz. Zürich: 1894. Print.
  3. Brechenmacher, Josef Karlmann. Deutches Namenbuch. Stuttgart: Verlag von Adolf Bonz & Comp, 1928. Print.
  4. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Nied, Edmund. Fraenkische Familiennamen urkundlich gesammelt und sprachlich gedeutet. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933. Print.
  6. Garland, Mary and Henry Garland Editions. Oxford Companion To German Literature 3rd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. (ISBN 0198158963).
  7. Bahlow, Hans. Abhandlungen zur Namenforschung und Buchgeschichte. 1980. Print. (ISBN 978-3768690522).
  8. 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).
  9. Schenk, Trudy. Wuerttemberg Emigration Index Volume I-VIII. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Inc., 1986. Print.
  10. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  11. ...

The Kleiner Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kleiner 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 17 September 2013 at 14:43.

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