A Brief History of Klawitter

Klawitter Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of the Klawitter family

Origin Of Klawitter

The approximate location of Klawitersdorf

Many Americans have asked me about relatives who have moved to the U.S. Unfortunately, I have none. But this page will tell you everything I know about the origin of Klawitter (Additions are welcome.).

The Name Itself

The name itself comes probably from the Latvian word "klava" which means "maple". But this is not the only theory.

Two Old Klawitters

The origin of the Klawitter familiy is rather unclear. The first official report of this name (Klawiter) can be found in 1590, where the king of Poland gave the land rights for the area "Clowaczewo" (today's name is "Glowaczewo") in West Prussia to Dionysius Klawiter. From then on this village was called "Klawitersdorf" (=Klawiter's village). The adjacent village Kramtke (or Kramtzig or Kremce) came under his "leadership(?)" ten years later.

Another early report is about Thomas Klavitter becoming citizen of Danzig (= Gdansk) in 1576. He came from Ditzow in the Neustettin area. This is roughly the same area as Klawitersdorf.

(Most) Klawitters Were Travellers

The Klawitters got spread around quite early, several branches are reported. I have an unverified hint that my origins are in a branch coming from Stolp (now Poland). However, my ancestory since the 19th century lived in North Rhine Westfalia, Germany.

Marck Klawitter has reported that two Klawitters were Bishops at the court of the Austrian Empress Marie Theresia (1712-1772).

The two world wars stirred the whole German population around, so it will be difficult to track Klawitters from the 19th century.

How to Spell Klawitter

As the different Klawitters moved around they also changed their names quite a little bit. Here are the spellings I know about: Klawiter, Klavitter - see above. Klawitter - well that's my own name. Claviter, Klaweiter, Klauweitter yet more.

Klawitter sightings

  • The most notable mentioning of this name is in GŁnter Grass' "die Blechtrommel" ("Tin Drum" in English?) is the mentioning the "Klawitterwerft" (Klawitters wharf) in Gdansk/Danzig.
  • The name of the last exit in Hayward, Califonia heading over the bay is Clawiter Road
  • There is a Klawitter monument in Danzig.

Klawitter Links

In order to establish contact between the different branches of Klawitter or to provide additional information, you may add your Name and eMail address here by sending an eMail to me.

Some "exotic" Klawitters

Klawitters looking for Help

Here is a list of people looking for relatives:

Page made by Holger Klawitter
Mon Aug 8 11:30:58 CEST 2011