This surname of CLONINGER is the Americanization of the Polish and German name KLONZ, and was a locational name meaning 'the dweller near a maple-tree' from residence nearby. There was also a place KLONOW in Poland, from where the original bearer may have taken his name. There was a Polish poet KLONOWIC in the 16th century. The name is also spelt KLONOWSKI and KLONOWICZ. The earliest Polish surnames were patronymic. The personal names from which they were derived were mainly Slavonic, but as the Middle Ages progressed, traditional Slavic given names, began to give way to saint's names, mainly of Latin origin. Surnames derived from Slavonic personal names are of early origin, and tend to be borne by aristocratic families. The suffix SKI is also found as an ending of Russian surnames, but these are usually of Polish origin. It was also used by Ashkenazic Jews. By the time most Jewish people on Polish territory were acquiring family names in the late 18th and 19th centuries, it was already widely used as a general surname suffix. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity. Many immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania.
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