Kramer Surname Genealogy

Kramer comes from the Old German kram
or cram, meaning a trading
post or tent. It came to mean in German and Dutch a peddler or
merchant, someone who set up a tent in the village to sell his
wares.  The term kramaere
came to describe the owner of what was seen as a scruffy little
shop.  Its first recorded use as a surname in Germany was a Walther der
Kramer in the Esslingen rolls of 1272.

Resources on

Kramer Ancestry

Kramer is a fairly common
surname in both Germany and Holland and there are some 80,000 Kramers in
today, of which:

  • 65 percent are in Germany
  • 20 percent are in Holland
  • and 15 percent are elsewhere in

The Kramer presence in the English-speaking world
is mainly because of the Kramers who have immigrated to America.
More recently, Jewish Kramers from Russia have been going to Israel and

England. England records
few Kramers, some Cramers, and a few more Creamers. They could be
from home-grown or from immigrant families.

In England, the name cremer, a
variant of the German Kramer, was
an occupational name and described a peddler of butter,
eggs, or hens (“ane
merchand or cremer, quha beris ane pack or creame upon his back,”
according to Sir John Skene in 1681).

Cremer as a surname seems to have first
surfaced in Norfolk
. Sir John Cremer, baptized John
Skryme in North Runcton in 1598, was made sheriff of Norfolk in
Although he married twice, he left no living heirs. This Cremer
name became Creamer over time and spread to Bedfordshire and
Cambridgeshire and to London.

Ireland. Creamer is also
an Irish surname and was to be found in Kilkenny and Longford and – as
Cramer of German origin – in Cork. John Creamer from Longford
served in the British army from 1810 to 1829 and subsequently made his
home in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

America. In America, the
numbers are first
Kramer, then Cramer, and then Creamer

  • Kramers originated almost entirely from German-speaking
  • Cramers mainly also, but included some Irish and English
  • and Creamers, two thirds from
    and one third from

The German-speaking world of Kramers extended East in
the 19th century to German enclaves in the Balkans (Slovenia today), in
Ukraine (Kiev and Odessa), and in present-day Belarus.

Kramers started to arrive in America in the 18th century, mainly into
and into Lancaster and Berks county
there. One family history traces itself back to a George Kramer
who had arrived in 1720 and settled in Bethel township, Berks
county. A Kramer family came to Fayette county,
where the son Baltzer worked with Albert Gattlin
who had set up the first glass-making factory west of the Alleghenies.

Among the 19th century Kramer arrivals were:

  • Philip and Mary Kramer, who came to Wisconsin in the early
    1850’s. Their son Michael moved onto Sheridan township, Iowa to
    farm. He and his family started up the Kramer brothers’ Band and
    Orchestra, which became well-known for functions throughout Redwood
  • Frederick and Anna Kramer, who settled in Alexandria, Virginia in
    the 1860’s. The Kramers operated several businesses there.
    Their son Henry
    (Pop) Kramer
    went on stage and made a name for himself doing
    bicycle tricks.
  • David and Marie Kramer, who came
    to Illinois in the 1860’s and later moved onto Kansas. The family
    members were inscribed in their family Bible published in 1861.
  • Various Kramers from Bohemia
    (now part of the Czech Republic), who came to Nebraska in the late
    1870’s and early 1880’s.

Jewish. Kramer
arrivals later in the 19th century began to have a Jewish
flavor, German-speaking refugees of the Tsarist pogroms in
Russia. One
Kramer family came in the early 1890’s from Dahlinev in present-day
Belarus and settled in Waterbury, Connecticut. Harry Kramer
arrived in 1903 from Sopockin nearby and raised funds to help Jews in
the area emigrate. From other Kramer immigrant families at that
time came Samuel Kramer, a leading expert on Sumerian history and
language, and the teacher Edna Kramer.

Then there was another bout of Kramer immigration in the 1930’s, this
time from Nazi Germany. Fred Kramer came with his family in 1936
and settled in Paso Robles, California. Film director Robert
Kramer – who made the film Our Nazi
in 1984 on the theme of Nazi genocide – was himself the grandson of a
Kramer who had escaped Tsarist Russia.

Kramer in the 1990’s had a Jewish connotation due to the character of
Kramer in the TV sitcom Seinfeld.

Kramer Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Kramer Names

Kramer was a leading
tennis player of the 1940’s who helped bring in the professional era to
the sport in the 1970’s.
Eileen Kramer was a
much-acclaimed Australian dancer and dance choreographer.
Floyd Cramer was a country
pianist who helped develop the “Nashville sound” in the 1950’s.
Stanley Kramer was a leading
American film director of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Select Kramers

  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 37,000 in America (most numerous
    in Pennsylvania).
  • 4,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).




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