The surname of KALER is of German origin, an occupational name 'the koehler' one who burned charcoal or a gatherer or seller of coal. The name was also adopted by Ashkenazic Jews, and is also spelt KOLLER, KOHLMAN, KOILMAN, KAHLER, KOHLENBRENNER and KOHLENBERG. The name has been Anglicized to COLE and COLEMAN. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The name was also locational 'of Koehler' the name of many small places in Germany. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. The arms are recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. Nobility of the Empire, 1735. Registered in Prussia. A notable member of the name was Wolfgang KOHLER (1887-1967) the German psychologist, born in Estonia and co-founder of the Gestalt school of psychology. He was director of the anthropoid research station in the Canary Islands (1913-20) where he became an authority on problem-solving animals. He later held chairs of psychology in Berlin, Swathmore College, Pennysylvania and Dartmouth College.
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