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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: German, Jewish

The name Kline 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. Kline is a nickname surname, a style of name based on an eke-name, or added name, that described a characteristic of its original bearer. Kline is a name for a small or short person deriving its origin from the German word "klien," which means "small."


The surname Kline was 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.

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 Kline include Klein, Kleinn, Kleine, Kleinne, Kleyn, Kleynn, Kline, Clein, Clein, Cline, Kleiner, Klinertz and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kline 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 Kline History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Between the 17th and 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Europeans came to North America, and many Rhinelanders were among them. They had many various reasons for making the choice: to escape poverty and persecution, for adventure, and for the opportunity to own their own land. Ellis Island, one of the main American immigration centers, saw many settlers as they moved on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, they found homes in Ontario, and on the great plains of the Midwestern provinces. The Kline were among of the early German families that came to North America:

Kline Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Bernhard Kline, aged 30, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1741
  • Jacob Kline, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765
  • Godfried Kline, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765
  • Theobald Kline, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765

Kline Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Philip Kline, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1818
  • Andrew Kline, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1836
  • Francis A Kline, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838
  • Peter Kline, aged 25, landed in Missouri in 1840
  • John Kline, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850

Kline Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Samuel Kline, who landed in Mississippi in 1900


  • Colby Kline, American actress, known for her work on Just Go with It (2011), The Last Boy Scout (1991) and Problem Child (1990)
  • Owen Joseph Kline (b. 1991), American Gotham Award winning actor, known for The Squid and the Whale (2005), The Anniversary Party (2001) and John's Gone (2010)
  • Richard Kline (b. 1944), American actor, known for Three's Company (1977), I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007) and Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)
  • Kevin Delaney Kline (b. 1947), American Academy Award and two-time Tony Award winning, two-time BAFTA and five-time Golden Globe nominated stage and film actor, probably best known for his role in A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
  • Forrest Scott Kline (b. 1983), American musician and songwriterlead singer and guitarist
  • Ronald Lee Kline (1932-2002), American Major League Baseball player who played from 1952 to 1970
  • Steven James "Steve" Kline (b. 1972), American former Major League Baseball relief pitcher
  • A. M. Kline, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives, 1891-94
  • Adam W. Kline (1818-1898), American politician, Member of New York State Senate 15th District, 1866-67
  • Ardolph Loges Kline (1858-1930), American Republican politician, Mayor of New York City, New York, 1913; U.S. Representative from New York 5th District, 1921-23; Defeated, 1922



  • The Jacob Snyder Family History by Loucile Ruth Mayhew Heckman.
  • Cline-Kline Family by Paul G. Kline.

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  1. Bahlow, Hans (Edda Gentry trns). Dictionary of German Names . Madison, Wisconsin: Max Kade Institute, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-924119-35-7).
  2. Bahlow, Hans. Mecklenburgisches Namenbüchlein Ein Führer durch Mecklenburgs Familiennamen. Rostock: Carl Hinstorffs Verlag, 1932. Print.
  3. Garland, Mary and Henry Garland Editions. Oxford Companion To German Literature 3rd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. (ISBN 0198158963).
  4. Nied, Edmund. Fraenkische Familiennamen urkundlich gesammelt und sprachlich gedeutet. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933. Print.
  5. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  8. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  9. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  10. Steed, Henry Wickham . The Hapsburg Monarchy. London: Constable and Company, 1919. Print.
  11. ...

The Kline Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Kline 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 20 March 2016 at 17:07.

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