Select 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.

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Select Kramer Ancestry

Kramer is a fairly common surname in both Germany and Holland and there are some 80,000 Kramers in Europe today, of which:
  • 65 percent are in Germany
  • 20 percent are in Holland
  • and 15 percent are elsewhere in Europe.
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 Germany.
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 1658.  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 countries
  • Cramers mainly also, but included some Irish and English immigrants
  • and Creamers, two thirds from Ireland and one third from England. 
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 Pennsylvania 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, Pennsylvania
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 county.
  • 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.

Select Kramer Miscellany

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

Select Kramer Names

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

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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