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

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

The ancestral home of the Berliner family is Bavaria. Berliner is a local name for a person 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 Berliner family emerged as an influential family and they became noted for their involvement in social, economic and political affairs.


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 Berliner include Berlin, Berliner, Berling, Berlen, Burlin, Burling, Barlin, Barling and many more.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berliner research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1725 and 1799 are included under the topic Early Berliner History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Between the mid-17th and mid-20th centuries, German settlers arrived in North America by the thousands. Persecution based on religion and poverty were great motivators in this large-scale migration. So too was the opportunity for tenant farmers to own their own land. Ample land and opportunity awaited the settlers who went to such states as Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California, as well as Ontario and the prairie provinces of Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Berliner or a variant listed above:

Berliner Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Nichs Berliner, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765

Berliner Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • A Berliner, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • H. Berliner, who arrived in San Francisco in 1851


  • Emile Berliner (1851-1929), American ( Germany born) audio engineer, best known for his invention of the disc record for the gramophone
  • Henry Berliner, United States aircraft and helicopter pioneer, son of Emile Berliner
  • Hans Berliner, former World Correspondence Chess Champion
  • Janet Berliner (b. 1939), Bram Stoker Award-winning author


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  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Bahlow, Hans. Deutschlands geographische Namenwelt Etymologisches Lexikon der Fluss- und Ortsnamen alteuropaischer Herkunft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
  4. Karlsruhe. Badisches Generallandesarchiv Baden Emigration lists 1866-1911. Salt Lake City: Microfilm of Card Index by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Print.
  5. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Steed, Henry Wickham . The Hapsburg Monarchy. London: Constable and Company, 1919. Print.
  8. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  9. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Berliner Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Berliner 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 27 October 2010 at 13:18.

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