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KLEIN Family History


This surname is an epithet type, referring to a person who was small in stature. The surname can be German, Dutch or Jewish (Ashkenazic). From its German and Jewish origins it is common throughout central and eastern Europe. Another derivation may be relevant: the sense being an epithet for a junior son of a family, a cadet. Kleine and Kleiner are the main variants.

In Germany, Klein ranks as 15th in the country?s rankings with a population of approximately 105 000 bearers. It was formerly found more in south and west Germany, in the provinces of Saarland, Rheinland-Pfalz, and Baden-Württemburg than elsewhere. However, this surname, together with its Jewish cognomen has long been widespread throughout central and eastern Europe.

Dutch immigrants, bearing the surname (De) Klein(e) were the earliest settlers of the name in the American Dutch province of New Netherlands in the mid 17th century. German immigrants so-named began to arrive in New York at the beginning of the 18th century. Statistics in the U.S. Federal Census of 1920 show that these bearers spread into the states of New York (3,163 families), Illinois (1, 143), Ohio (867) and Pennsylvania (844). These states were all recipients of German immigrants. The New York figures, however, likely contain a number of Dutch and Jewish families.

In the U.S.A. of today, Klein stands at 359th place with a population of 79, 685 bearers (U.S. Census Bureau).

The coat of arms for the German family of Klein is a bear, proper, standing on its hind legs, holding up a green trefoil in its dexter (right) paw on a red shield; the image is repeated in the crest. (Source: Siebmacher?s ?Wappenbuch?, 1701 edition).


Felix Klein (1849-1925): born in Prussia, he was a mathematician who was renowned for a study which extended the understanding of Geometry, through developing a system of describing the properties of a space as invariant; this was known as the ?Erlanger Programm?.

Abraham Moses Klein (1909-1972): born into an Orthodox Jewish family in the Ukraine, he emigrated to Canada, and there became known as a poet of the ?Montreal Group?. His works, such as ?Hath not a Jew?? (1940), ?Poems? (1944) and the ?Hitleriad? (1944) focused on persecution of the Jews by the Nazis. He was an ardent Zionist.

Calvin Klein (b. 1942): born in New York City, he became fabulously wealthy through his fashion creations for both women and men: an unmistakeable blend of classicism and innovation. Klein was the first designer to win the coveted Coty Award for womenswear, on three consecutive occasions: 1973, 74, 75.

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