Kreft History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Kreft is derived from the Old German word "craft," which means "strong" or "courageous." In the early Middle Ages, Kreft was a popular first name among knights because it referred to strength. In the early 14th century, a number of branches in southern Germany adopted Kraft or Craft as a family name.

Early Origins of the Kreft family

The surname Kreft was first found in Bavaria, where the family made a considerable contribution to the feudal society which shaped modern Europe. The family branched into several houses, all of which played an important role in the local political conflicts which forged the nation. In the early Middle Ages, the name was a popular first name taken on by knights. In the early 14th century, a number of branches in southern Germany developed around Kraft or Craft as a family name. Individual bearers of this name first mentioned in ancient chronicles include the famous minstrel Count Kraft von Toggenburg from the Thurgau region, and Hans Kraft of Wuerzburg (c.1409).

Early History of the Kreft family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kreft research. Another 314 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1298, 1429, 1507, 1552, 1679, 1749, 1770, 1778, 1805, 1813, 1820, and 1840 are included under the topic Early Kreft History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kreft Spelling Variations

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 Kreft include Kraft, Krafft, Kraftt, Krafte, Kraffte, Krafter, Kraften, Kraefte, Kraeft, Kreft, Krefte, Craft, Crafft, Crafte, Craffte, Craeft and many more.

Early Notables of the Kreft family (pre 1700)

Prominent among members of the name Kreft in this period include Adam Krafft (Kraft) (1429-1507), who was a famous Nuremberg sculptor. Some of his work is in the vestry of St. Lawrence cathedral, Nuremberg. Anton Kraft (1749-1820) was a composer and...
Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kreft Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kreft 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:

Kreft Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • August Kreft, who landed in Illinois in 1856 [1]

New Zealand Kreft migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Kreft Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Kreft, (b. 1842), aged 30, Polish farm labourer travelling from Hamburg aboard the ship "Palmerston" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 12th December 1872 [2]
  • Mrs. Rosalie Kreft née Gdaniec, (b. 1846), aged 26, Polish settler travelling from Hamburg aboard the ship "Palmerston" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 12th December 1872 [2]
  • Miss Anna Kreft, (b. 1866), aged 6, Polish settler travelling from Hamburg aboard the ship "Palmerston" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 12th December 1872 [2]
  • Mr. Thomas Kreft, (b. 1868), aged 4, Polish settler travelling from Hamburg aboard the ship "Palmerston" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 12th December 1872 [2]
  • Miss Pauline Kreft, (b. 1871), aged 1 year 6 months, Polish settler travelling from Hamburg aboard the ship "Palmerston" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 12th December 1872 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kreft (post 1700) +

  • Lev Kreft (b. 1951), Slovenian politician, Member of the Parliament, editor, philosopher and sociologist
  • Bratko Kreft (1905-1996), Slovenian playwright, writer, literary and director, three-time recipient of the Prešeren Award


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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