Klees History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Klees is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Klees family lived in Lincolnshire, where they held a family seat at Claye.

Early Origins of the Klees family

The surname Klees was first found in Lincolnshire where the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William del Cley and Robert del Clay as holding lands there at that time. The same rolls also listed Alicia in le Clay, Huntingdonshire. [1]

Later, in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Agnes del Clay; Johannes del Clay; and Adam del Clay, Howdenshire. [1]

"Clay has long been a Notts surname. It was represented in the parish of Hayton in the time of Henry VII. Hercules Clay was a mayor of Newark in the reign of Charles I. (S.), and Clay is still a Newark name. The Clays of Southwell during last century carried their pedigree back 200 years, and their name is yet in the town. Six centuries ago Clay was a common name in the east of England, especially in Essex, Lincolnshire, Hunts, Cambridgeshire, and Beds. It is still well established in Lincolnshire, as well as in Notts and Derbyshire." [2]

Early History of the Klees family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Klees research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1457 and 1537 are included under the topic Early Klees History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Klees Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Clay, Claye, Cley, Cleye, McClay and others.

Early Notables of the Klees family (pre 1700)

Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Klees Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Klees family to Ireland

Some of the Klees family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Klees migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Klees or a variant listed above:

Klees Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Georg Klees, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1747 [3]
Klees Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Catherina Klees, who landed in Texas in 1845 [3]
  • Peter Klees, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1856 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Klees (post 1700) +

  • Walter J. Klees, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives from Wayne County 2nd District, 1948 [4]
  • Christian Klees (b. 1968), German gold medalist sport shooter at the 1996 Summer Games, the only shooter to have achieved the maximum score (600) in the 50 metre rifle prone event
  • Frank Klees (b. 1951), German-born, Canadian former politician in Ontario, a cabinet minister in the governments of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves
  • Stan Klees (b. 1932), Canadian music industry businessman, inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995


The Klees 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: Per orbem
Motto Translation: Through the world.


  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)
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. 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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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