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Kreiss Coat of Arms / Kreiss Family Crest

This surname of KREISS is the Americanized spelling of the German name KREISLER. The name was of the occupational group of surnames meaning 'one who made utensils of earthenware, a potter'. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. The name is also spelt KREISEL, KREISLER, CRYSLER and CHRYSLER. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. A notable member of the name was Walter Percy CHRYSLER (1875-1940) the American Automobile manufacturer, born in Wamego, Kansas. He started his working life as an apprentice in a Union Pacifica Railroad machine shop. He worked his way up to become plant manager with the American Locomotive Company, but left in 1912 to become works manager of Buick Motor Company at half the salary. By 1916, he had become president, but resigned in 1919 to become director of Willys-Overland and Maxwell Motor Company in 1921. This became the CHRYSLER Corporation in 1925. He introduced the 'Plymouth' motor car.

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Last Updated: January 15th, 2021

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