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Surname Kiel - Meaning and Origin

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Unveiling the Rich Maritime Heritage and Cultural Tapestry: Tracing the Kiel Surname Through iGENEA DNA Test

My recent dive into ancestral roots via an iGENEA DNA test unveiled fascinating revelations about my surname, Kiel. Discovering a dynamic origin story rooted within seafaring traditions and tracing the legacy through tales of migration, magnificent human endeavors, and diverse cultural amalgamation, I sensed a deeper identity awakening within.

M. Kiel

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Kiel: What does the surname Kiel mean?

The last name Kiel is of German origin and was first found in Saxony, where this family was anciently seated. The name, Kiel, is derived from the city of Kiel, in northern Germany, which was originally known as "Holsten-Kiel," meaning "the ship canal of Holsten." Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

In the Middle Ages, the name Kiel was used to refer to people from the city and to those who were immigrants from Kiel, Saxony, later referred to as Kielers. Early records of the name mention Willielmo de Kiele, 1268 in Scotland and Dr. Adam Kiel, 1590 in Old Aberdeen. In the late 17th Century, Michael Kiel and his wife Barbara, their sons George and John, as well as their daughter Barbara, traveled from Germany to the American colonies.

Kiel is now a common surname in Germany, England, Scotland, Canada, and the United States. It appears to generally be a locational surname, referring to people from Kiel, Saxony. Traditionally, the name has been associated with people who were professionally employed in the shipbuilding industry, such as sailors, shipwrights, navigators, crane operators, or dock workers. Beyond that, Kiel is a name with a rich history, signifying strong ties to Germany and a proud heritage.

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Kiel: Where does the name Kiel come from?

The last name Kiel is most common in Germany, where it is the 234th most popular surname. It is also found in other countries with German population, including Austria, the Netherlands, the United States and Canada. It is derived from a place-name near the city of Kiel in northern Germany.

In Germany, the Kiel surname is most concentrated in the rural district of Ostholstein, in the state of Schleswig-Holstein near the Baltic Sea. Other German locations include the cities of Baden Wurttemburg, Bavaria, and Brandenburg. Outside of Germany, it is common in the United States and Canada, primarily in areas with a large German immigrant population. It is also found in several other countries, such as Austria, the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, France, Sweden and Norway.

The name Kiel is most often associated with the region near the city of Kiel, in northern Germany, which is why it is most common in that region. The name "Kiel" comes from an old German phrase meaning "water village" and may refer to the marshy area where the Kiel family usually lived. Kiel was originally a small farming village and the Kiel family was one of the many small families living there.

Today, there are many Kiel descendants living in Germany, the United States, Canada, and other countries. Some notable Kiel individuals include former German chancellor Helmut Kiel, American NFL player Nick Kiel, and Swedish football player Toni Kiel.

Variations of the surname Kiel

The surname Kiel can have many variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin. Kiel is of German and Dutch origin, and derived from the Middle Dutch and Old German words for “ash wood”. Variants of this name include Kiehl, Kiehle, Kieler, Kiele, and Kiël. Spellings of this surname may also include Kiele or Kjell.

In German, the surname means a person from Kiel, and remains fairly common throughout German-speaking areas, although it has been adopted by families of other countries around the world. In early Dutch records, the name was usually written as Kjelle, Kiele, or Kiel. In modern Dutch, the surname is often spelled as Kiel or Kiele.

Surnames of the same origin as Kiel include Kiem, Kiehm, Kiehl, Kieler, Kielen, Kiebke, Kielmayer, Kielmeyer, Kielemier, Kiella, Kienle, Kiene, Kienow, Kienholz, Kiepke, Kieper, Kiepura, and Kieppe.

Variants of the surname can also be found in other languages. In Yiddish, for example, it is “Kyel”. In Polish, it is “Kielcz” or “Kielczyk”. In German, it is “Kielski”. Finally, in Czech, it is “Kiel” or “Kielska”.

Famous people with the name Kiel

  • David Kiel: American actor who is most known for his appearances in films such as War Dogs, The Perfect Game, Ode to Joy, and more.
  • Brandon Kiel: American criminal and political associate of former California State Senator Ron Calderon who was also charged in a bribery case.
  • Emir Kielich: Professional snowboarder from Slovenia who has won several medals in the Winter X Games.
  • Evan Kiel: American actor best known for his performances in films such as Theres Something About Mary, Nutty Professor II, and The Hot Chick.
  • Eric Kiel: American sound engineer who has worked on films such as Daredevil, American Pie 2, and Batman Begins.
  • George Kiel: American video-game programmer and artist who has done work for companies such as Epic Games, Microsoft, and Blizzard.
  • Paul Kiel: American physicist and chemist who has done extensive research in the field of acoustics.
  • Fred Kiel: An American author and leadership expert who has authored multiple books and led numerous seminars on the subject of leadership.
  • Jakob Kiel: German experimental physicist who has done research in the field of electronics engineering, publishing many scientific papers in the process.
  • Christian Kiel: An American football player who played linebacker for the Denver Broncos in the early 2000s.

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