Cleve History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Cleve is derived from the Old English word "clif," which means cliff, rock, or steep descent. It is thought to have been a name used for someone who lived near a sloping cliff or the bank of a river. As such, the surname Cleve belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

Early Origins of the Cleve family

The surname Cleve was first found in Shropshire and Cheshire. The latter county "in the hundred of Northwich, is Clive, from whence their ancestor Warin assumed his name in the time of Henry II. About the reign of Edward II the family removed to Huxley, also in Cheshire, Henry de Clive having married the co-heiress. " [1]

The Shropshire branch claim descent from the village and civil parish so named. "James Clive with the heiress of Styche, of Styche, they settled in Shropshire at that place, which is in the parish of Moreton-Say, and has remained uninterruptedly in the Clive family." [1]

Henry de Cliff (d. 1334), the English judge, "is first mentioned as accompanying the king abroad in May 1313; and on 11 May 1317, as a master in chancery, he had charge of the great seal at the house of the Lord Chancellor, John de Sandale, Bishop of Winchester. There is another master in chancery in Edward II's reign of the same name, probably a brother. " [2]

Early History of the Cleve family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cleve research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1725, 1774, 1767, 1558, 1514, 1522, 1523, 1522, 1529, 1526 and 1532 are included under the topic Early Cleve History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cleve Spelling Variations

Although there are not an extremely large number Welsh surnames, there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations of those surnames. This variety of spellings began almost immediately after the acceptance of surnames within Welsh society. As time progressed, these old Brythonic names were eventually were recorded in English. This process was problematic in that many of the highly inflected sounds of the native language of Wales could not be properly captured in English. Some families, however, did decide to modify their own names to indicate a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even a patriotic affiliation. The name Cleve has seen various spelling variations: Cliffe, Cliff, Clive, Cleeves, Cleave, Cleaves and many more.

Early Notables of the Cleve family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was William Clyffe (d. 1558), English divine, educated at Cambridge, where he graduated LL.B. in 1514, was admitted advocate at Doctors' Commons on 16 Dec. 1522, graduated LL.D...
Another 36 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cleve Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Cleve migration to the United States +

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in search of land, work, and freedom. These immigrants greatly contributed to the rapid development of the new nations of Canada and the United States. They also added a rich and lasting cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Cleve:

Cleve Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Phillip Cleve, who landed in Virginia in 1648 [3]
  • Daniel Cleve, who arrived in Maryland in 1665 [3]
  • Thomas Cleve, who arrived in Maryland in 1672 [3]
Cleve Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Louis Cleve, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1848 [3]
  • P T Cleve, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1869 [3]

Australia Cleve migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cleve Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Charles Cleve, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Benjamin Elkin" in 1850 [4]
  • Alfred Cleve, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Benjamin Elkin" in 1850 [4]
  • Mary Cleve, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Norman"
  • Sarah Cleve, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Norman"

Contemporary Notables of the name Cleve (post 1700) +

  • George Wolfgang Cleve (1935-2015), Viennese-born, American conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and many more
  • H. P. Van Cleve, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 1868 [5]
  • C. H. Van Cleve, American politician, Village President of Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1845-47 [5]
  • Benjamin Van Cleve, American politician, Postmaster at Dayton, Ohio, 1803-21 [5]
  • Andrew F. Van Cleve, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1920 [5]
  • Henry R. Cleve, American politician, Delegate to Nebraska State Constitutional Convention, 1919-20 [6]
  • Cornelius Cleve (1520-1567), Flemish painter
  • Cleve Loney (1950-2020), American politician, Member of the Montana House of Representatives (2011-2013)
  • Cleve Poole, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Alabama, 2008
  • Cleve Barry Moler (b. 1939), American mathematician and computer programmer specializing in numerical analysis, recipient of the 2012 Computer Pioneer Award

The Cleve Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: In cruce glorior
Motto Translation: I glory in the cross.

  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BENJAMIN ELKIN 1850. Retrieved
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 2) . Retrieved from
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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