The surname of KLEIN is of German of origin, a baptismal name meaning 'the son of Kleine'. The name was also a nickname for one of small stature. After the Crusades in Europe, in the 11th 12th and 13th century people began, perhaps unconsciously, to feel the need of a family name, or at least a name in addition to the simple one that had been possessed from birth. The nobles and upper classes, especially those who went on the Crusades, observed the prestige and practical value of an added name, and were quick to take a surname. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. The name has numerous variant spellings which include KLEINER, KLAINER, KLAINMAN, CLEYNMAN, CLINE, CLYNMANS, KEINHAUT and KLEJNA. Notable members of the name include Christian Felix KLEIN (1849-1925) the German mathematician, born in Dusseldorf. He studied at Bonn (1865-68) and held chairs at Erlangen, Munich, Leipzig and Gottingen. Anne KLEIN (1921-1974) was the American fashion designer, born in New York. In 1938 she started as a sketcher on Seventh Avenue, and Anne KLEIN and Co. was established in 1968. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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