Thats me with a can of beer .....
Klippel Name Origins
The Klippel Surname appears to have more than one origin. Some of them are listed below:
Locational: "dweller near a small cliff."
German Dictionaries of family names: "derber Mensch" (a coarse or rough person).
Eastern germany: There is a story concerning the origin of Klippel. It says Klippel
came into being after the Thirty Years' War. It claims that Klippel deals with
an old handicraft -- lace making. This lace making was carried out by women in the
area of "Erzgebirge" a low mountain range in eastern Germany close to the border of
former Czechoslovakia, now the Czach Republic. This handicraft had many thin silk
or cotton strings arranged in straight lines, which hung down from the ceiling
connected to small pieces of wood, called bobbins. The strings were moved by hand
in sophisticated ways fastened with knots to produce regular patterns. The activity
of moving the strings was called "klippeln" (a verb) which is local slang; the
German verb today is "klöppeln" (meaning: to make lace.) The noise raised by the
touching of the bobbins during their movements was called "Klippel." there is an
old folk song from the "Erzgebirge" area, the "Klippel Lied" (Klippel Song) that
is virtually unknown in Germany today.
And, the interpretation I favor and believe to be the true origin:
From the mid 1400s the surname Klippel had an occupational genesis. The name is
Medieval Dutch in orgin.
The name derives from the Medieval Dutch "clippel": a bell clapper or knocker, and
was used by the "Bodebussen" (Sheriff or Guild Master) in Stavenisse on the Island
of Tholen in what is today the Netherlands. The name was first used in 1440 when
Philip of Burgundy designated that his sworn messenger to the town of Stavenisse be
sworn into office by the bailiff and given permission to attach goods with the force
of the rod, if necessary. The rod being the "clippel," thus the holder of this
office was called Klippel.
There is in the floor of the Cathedral at Deventer in the Netherlands a crypt for
Wilem Klüppel, Burgermeister von Deventer, Netherlands, from the 1600s.
In 14th century Kues (now in Rhineland-Pfalz, Germany) a Klippel is mentioned as
the neighbor of the great philosopher Nicolaus Cusanus.
The impact of the Thirty Years' War in what is now the Rhineland in Germany was so
immense that most of the people who had lived there a century before simply left no
descendants and the land became ripe for settlement. Contrary to most European
migrations that usually took place from south to north and west to east it is my
belief that members of the Klippel family left the Island of Tholen, at the mouth of
the Rhine, between 1440 and 1580, went down river, and settled in the vicinity of
Mainz. I believe this accounts for the large concentration of Klippels who live(d) on
Tholen, and in the vicinity of Mainz, Kartsruhe and Wiesbaden, Germany. From this area
they emigrated to America and the rest of the world.
It is believed by others, and conforms to the south to north, west to east, migration
theory, that members of the Klippel family migrated from the Netherlands to Klippan in
Skane, Sweden and then early in the Thirty years' War several of these Klippels migrated
as mercenaries for Swedish King Gustuf II Adolf to Kruppei by Schwarz in what is now the
Czech Republic, from there migrated to Trautenau, Württemberg, and the vicinity of Mainz,
Karlsruhe and Wiesbaden areas of Germany, also eventually to America and the rest of the world.
There is a small Klippel Castle near the village of Auborsch in northern Bohemia (Czech
Republic) that was occupied until 1790. The ruins of this castle can still be found there
today and seen on older maps of the area under the name of Aloisiushoethe. This Klippel line
had their title taken away due to their style of living and crimes committede, eventually
losing all of their possessions and becoming small farmers and workmen.
Both of these hypothesis probably have some truth.
It is going to be difficult to track the Klippel family from, for instance, a person on any
oath list taken in the 1500s down to the present. Partly, of course, it is a matter of what
records have survived--but it's not just a matter of records.
The most direct answer is that in this part of Germany, the impact of the Thirty Years' War
was so immense that most of the people who had lived there a century before simply left no
descendants. I found a list of names of the people who took an oath in Bubenheim and the
surrounding area in 1529 -- 152 men in these Gemeinden [Municipalities]-(none of them with
the name Klippel).
In 1648, by contrast, when the local Abbot came in person toward the end of the Thirty Years'
War to accept oaths of allegiance, there were only 38 adult men left alive in the Gemeinden
[Municipalities], several with the name Klippel. Plague, war, and famine had accounted for
the remainder of the families. If you've never read Berthold Brecht's play Mother Courage,
I recommend it. To a considerable extent, many of the German territories had to start over in
It is my belief that the Klippel family came to this area shortly before/after the Thirty
This said, the true origin of the Klippel surname will always be shrouded in the mists of
history, and may never be known for certain.