What was the original family name?

Based on documents signed by this family’s pioneering ancestor there is no doubt that the family names of Climenhaga and Climenhage (and the now defunct Climenhegg and Glimanhaga) were originally not spelled in any of these written forms. In fact, five instances of Henry Climenhagen’s signature state in no uncertain terms that his German surname was [Henrich] Kleimenhagen: [1]

henry_ signature

It is just as apparent that ‘Climenhagen’ was the closest Anglicanized form of Kleimenhagen as this is the name that appears on five [known] documents pertaining to Henry including the land petition of Henry Clymenhagen (14 Jul 1797); the will of Abraham Boehm/Beam (18 May 1799) in which he names his ‘trusty friend’ Henry Clymenhagen as an executor of his will; the land sale between Parshall Terry and Henry Clymenhaggen (6 Dec 1799); the will of Martin Beÿer/Byer (13 Nov 1802) in which he names Henry Clymenhagen as an executor; and, the will of Henry Climenhagen (15 Dec 1804) in which he lists himself and his children as Climenhagen.

Based on the written consistency of the family name across Henry’s eight years in Upper Canada—from the date of his arrival to the date of his death in 1805—it is believed that, had Henry lived longer, this family’s surname would be Climenhagen. This belief is based also on the fact that another Kleimenhagen, [a probable distant relative of Henry’s] who also immigrated to Canada from Germany, went by Clemenhagen as do his descendants.[2]

Footnotes    ((↵) returns to text)

  1. [1] Land grant petition of Henry Clymenhagen, 14 Jul 1797; [2] Estate of Abraham Beam:  Bond of Christian Vinecker (Winger) and Henry Climenhagen, 28 Dec 1799; [3] Estate of Abraham Beam: Oath of administration of Christian Vinecker and Henry Climenhagen, 28 Dec 1799; [4] Petition of Henry Climenhagen and Edward Carney for letters administration to effects Abraham Beam, 28 Dec 1799; [5] Last Will and Testament of Henry Climenhagen, 15 Dec 1804.(↵)
  2. Johann Christoph Kleimenhagen, born April 4th 1812 in Herrenbreitungen, Germany, came to Canada in 1853 first living in Berlin, Ontario (now Kitchener), Ottawa, and then Mulgrave Township near Buckingham, Quebec. He died March 1st 1883 at LaBlanceh, Mulgrave Township, Quebec.(↵)
This entry was posted in Family Name, Henry Climenhagen, Kleimenhagen. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What was the original family name?

  1. Thank you, James! Now you need to trace how the name changed with Henry’s sons(s). Do we both come from Martin son of Henry? Did Martin change it? What happened next?

  2. James Climenhage says:

    Hi Daryl. Yes, the rest of the story is coming…and it’s a good one I think. We do, in fact, both descend from Martin–you from Martin’s middle son David, and I from his eldest son Moses. Stay tuned, more to come!

  3. Beth Climenhage - Wilson says:

    Hi James,
    Love the article. I especially found it interesting that Henry named Abraham Boehm his trusty friend. Seeing as I am of the lineage from Jesse Climenhage (who married Marie Boehm/Beam) I thought the connection was neat! Great work and keep on digging!

  4. Harold Climenhaga says:

    Hi James,
    You will probably know and might want to reference the name Kleimenhagen in http://www.wikipedia.de. According to this source the name Kleimenhagen and several variants is found as early as 1221 as a village name in written records and was originally a noble name but passed out of ranks of nobility after the Thirty Years’ War. There is quite a bit more there on the origin and etymology of the two halves of the name in the “Diskussion”, on the earliest written records and even on the family crest (with an eagle and clouds). (All of this is in German.)
    Kindest regards,
    Harold Climenhaga

Comments are closed.