Show ContentsBerlin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Berlin surname first began to be used in the German state of Bavaria, some time after the 12th century, when hereditary surnames were adopted according to fairly general rules, and names that were derived from locations became particularly common. The family name Berlin is a local surname. Originally denoting the proprietorship of an estate or influence within a village, the German preposition von, which means from or of, used with local names, was taken as a mark of aristocracy. The surname Berlin was given to someone who lived in the city of Berlin, the capital of Germany. The city took its name from a Wendish word which means river rake, or a scaffold of beams built over a river to prevent logs from jamming; the river in question was the Spree. The German name is also found in the Hamburg area, where it may be derived from the village of the same name. Berlin is also an Ashkenazic Jewish local name, derived from the same origins as the German form of the local name. The Berlin family emerged as an influential family and they became noted for their involvement in social, economic and political affairs.

Early Origins of the Berlin family

The surname Berlin was first found in Nuremburg, where the name Berlin was closely identified in early mediaeval times with the feudal society of early European history. The name would later emerge as a noble family with great influence, having many distinguished branches, and become noted for its involvement in social, economic and political affairs.

Early History of the Berlin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berlin research. Another 54 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1725 and 1799 are included under the topic Early Berlin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berlin Spelling Variations

One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Berlin include Berlin, Berliner, Berling, Berlen, Burlin, Burling, Barlin, Barling and many more.

Early Notables of the Berlin family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Berlin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berlin Ranking

In the United States, the name Berlin is the 4,100th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [1]

United States Berlin migration to the United States +

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 Bavaria who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. For many Bavarian tenant farmers, the chance to own their own land was a major incentive. So the widespread colonization of the United States began in 1650, when many immigrants from Germany settled in pockets in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. In Canada, German settlement centered in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Among those of this surname listed in various historical records were:

Berlin Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anna Berlin, who landed in New York, NY in 1710 [2]
  • Abraham Berlin, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738 [2]
  • Georg Frederich Berlin, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738 [2]
  • Hans Jacob Berlin, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1738 [2]
Berlin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Berlin, who settled in Galveston, Texas in 1839
  • Georg Berlin, who landed in New York, NY in 1850 [2]
  • Mr. Berlin, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]
  • Friederike Berlin, who arrived in New York in 1851
  • J Berlin, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Berlin (post 1700) +

  • Irving Berlin (1888-1989), born Israel Isidore Baline, an American composer and lyricist, and one of the most prolific American songwriters in history, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Ira Berlin (1941-2018), American historian, university professor of history at the University of Maryland
  • Jeff Berlin (b. 1943), American Jazz bassist
  • Sir Isaiah Berlin (b. 1912), Russian-born English philosopher and historian
  • Sir Isiah Berlin (1909-1997), British (Russian born), political philosopher and historian
  • Berlin Guy "Champ" Chamberlin (1894-1967), professional American football player and coach
  • Berlin Rowe, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1940 [3]

Triangle Waist Company
  • Miss Pauline Berlin (b. 1895), American garment worker who was working at Triangle Waist Company factory at the Asch building in Greenwich Village on the 25th March 1911 when fire broke out; she survived the fire when her supervisor took workers to the roof and across to other buildings [4]

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 9) . Retrieved from
  4. Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (retrieved on 3rd August 2021.) Retrieved from on Facebook