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

Origins Available: Dutch, German, Swedish

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

The long and noble heritage behind the name of Steen first began in medieval Austria. While the patronymic and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the name of the father and mother respectively, are the most common form of a hereditary surname in Germany, occupational surnames also emerged during the late Middle Ages. Many people, such as the Steen family, adopted the name of their occupation as their surname. However, an occupational name did not become a hereditary surname until the office or type of employment became hereditary. The surname Steen was an occupational name for a stone cutter. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old German word stein, meaning stone. In some cases the name may be topographical in nature and derive from the fact the original bearer lived near a prominent stone or rock.


In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Steen include Steiner, Steinert, Steinertz, Steinerth, Steinere, Stein, Steine and many more.

First found in Austria, in the cities of Berne and Neuchatel, where the name was anciently associated with the tribal conflicts of the area. They declared allegiances to many nobles and princes of early history, lending their influence in regional political struggles for power. They branched into many houses in Austria, and their contributions were sought by many leaders in their search for power.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Steen research. Another 265 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1796, 1809, 1810, 1820, 1838, and 1863 are included under the topic Early Steen History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 43 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Steen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Austria was made a republic after the First World War. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up by the Treaty of Versailles and many of its people found themselves in the new nation of Czechoslovakia. Many other Austrians and expatriate Austrians made their way to North America in the 20th century. Most landed in Philadelphia, later continuing on to the states of Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Some Austrian settlers also went to western Canada and Ontario. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Steen or a variant listed above:

Steen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Hans Steen, aged 24, arrived in New York in 1638

Steen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Elias Steen, who arrived in New York in 1709
  • Jacob Steen, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761
  • Elizabeth Steen, who landed in South Carolina in 1772

Steen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George Steen, aged 21, arrived in Delaware in 1812
  • Robert Steen, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815
  • Samuel Steen, aged 7, landed in New York, NY in 1834
  • Isabela Steen, aged 48, landed in New York, NY in 1834
  • Isabela, Steen Jr., aged 9, arrived in New York, NY in 1834

Steen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Steen, aged 23, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"
  • William Steen, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"
  • Susannah Steen, aged 21, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"
  • Margaret Steen, aged 19, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"
  • John Steen, aged 22, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Frenchman"

Steen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Andrew Steen arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1863


  • Charles A. Steen (1919-2006), American geologist who made and lost a fortune after discovering a uranium in Utah
  • Cassandra Steen (b. 1980), German singer, songwriter and backing vocalist
  • Scott Steen, trumpeter for the Los Angeles based swing band Royal Crown Revue
  • Alexander Steen (b. 1984), Canadian professional NHL ice hockey
  • Anthony David Steen (b. 1939), British politician
  • Johannes Wilhelm Christian Steen (1827-1906), Norwegian politician, Prime Minister of Norway from 1891 to 1893 and from 1898 to 1902
  • Paprika Steen (b. 1964), Danish actress and film director
  • Steve Steen (b. 1954), British actor and comedian
  • Mr. Leo Peter Van den Steen (d. 1912), aged 28, Belgian Third Class passenger from Haaltert who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Reiulf Steen (1933-2014), Norwegian politician and diplomat, Minister of Transportation (1971-1972) and Commerce (1979-1981), MP for Oslo and Akershus (1977-1993), Ambassador to Chile (1992-1996).[6]



  1. Hildenbrand, A.M. Wappenfibel. Handbuch der Heraldik. Neustadt an der Aisch: 1970. Print.
  2. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  3. Nied, Edmund. Fraenkische Familiennamen urkundlich gesammelt und sprachlich gedeutet. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933. Print.
  4. Bahlow, Hans. Mecklenburgisches Namenbüchlein Ein Führer durch Mecklenburgs Familiennamen. Rostock: Carl Hinstorffs Verlag, 1932. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Göbel, Otto. Niederdeutsche Familiennamen der Gegenwart Wolfshagen-Schäbentz. Franz: Westphal, 1936. Print.
  8. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  9. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
  10. Jones, Henry Z. Palatine Families of New York 2 Volumes. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2001. Print. (ISBN 978-0961388829).
  11. ...

The Steen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Steen 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 6 June 2014 at 14:11.

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