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Friday, December 31, 2010

Perspective on the name "Kleager"

This is from my first cousin, Scott.  We share grandparents of Frank August Kleager and Sophie Drewel.  He lives in Cologne, Germany.

Just so you know... I've started looking for Joseph Kleager's family in Switzerland. I've always assumed that the name "Kleager" was translated incorrectly when Joseph immigrated. I've lived here in Germany now for 20 years; translate German into English for Yale U. and others, so I know for a fact that there simply is no "ea" in German, not even Swiss German. So his real name must have been either "Klaeger" or "Kläger."

"Klaeger" is possible, but "Kläger" is a far more common name and, in fact, I found several families named Kläger in Switzerland. One of them owns and runs a business that makes wooden furniture. It appears to be a relatively large company, as it's a public company listed on the Swiss stock exchange (wherever that is, Zurich, I guess). Their website has pictures of the owners, including a Mr. Kleager, and he looks strangely familiar.

I wrote them in German, explained the situation, they wrote back and said there was no Joseph Kläger who immigrated to the US in the time he actually did. Now, my wife Heike thinks they might have said this because they fear I would have a claim on their business or something -- knowing the strange inheritance laws they have here, she could be right. Since then, I've been pondering how to convince them I'm on the up-and-up.

Switzerland has very good genealogical records -- they have not experienced a war or a similar catastrophe since the 17th-century -- so I'm optimistic. Anyway, I'll keep you posted with anything I find.

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