Kramer is a primarily German and Dutch occupational surname for a shopkeeper, peddler, haberdasher, or hawker of good and wares, deriving from the Middle High German and Middle Low German word kram, meaning something along the lines of booth, trading post, or tent. Another source states it derived from an Austrian word meaning “merchant”. Others assert the name developed in Bavaria. A Cremer or Kramer would travel to the country side to buy staples such as hens, eggs, and butter and carried the items back to market in a pack on his back known as a “Cram”. Yet another source asserts the name is Flemish in origin and was brought to England by French and Flemish Huguenots (Protestants) who were facing religious persecution in Europe during the 1500s and 1600s. In England, the first documented spelling of the name is one Abraham Cremer, who was baptized on January 1st, 1552 at St. Margaret’s Westminster. The surname is also widespread in central and eastern Europe.
Spelling variations include Kramer, Kremer, Kraemer, Kreamer, Krammer, Krahmer, Krahmer, Kraymer, Kraimer, and others. Cramer, found in the British Isles and US/Canada, is the Anglicized spelling of the name.
As of the 2000 Census, the surname Kramer ranked 474th in popularity in the United States. It ranks highest in the five following states: North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska. The surname Kramer is very common in the following countries: Germany (55th), Netherlands (53rd), Switzerland (204th), Austria (231st), and Denmark (423rd).
Some of the earliest American settlers who bore this surname include Andreas Kramer and Hans Kramer (Germantown, Pennsylvania, around ~1690), Antonius Kramer (New York 1709), Johannes Kramer (New York 1709), and Jan Kramer (New York 1715). There were also several early Kremers, including Peter Kremer (New York 1709), Anthony Kremer (New York 1710), and Adam, Hans Adam, and Hendrich Kremer (Pennsylvania 1731).
John Henry Kramer
There are hundreds of notable people throughout history who bore the Kramer surname, not limited to, but including the following: 1) Adolph Kramer (1871-1934) who was a Silesian German chest master 2) John Henry Kramer (1918-1995) who was a pitcher in Major League Baseball who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and played for four different teams between 1939-1951, 3) Jens Kramer Mikkelsen (1951) who was the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Denmark from 1989 to 2004, 4) Joseph Michael Kramer, nicknamed Kramedog, who was the drummer for the American rock band Aerosmith, born in the Bronx, New York, 5) Kenny Kramer (1943) who is a stand-up comedian on which the character Kramer from the hit TV sitcom Seinfeld was based on, 6) Kane Kramer (1956) who was a British businessman and inventor credited with the initial invention of the digital audio player, 7) Samuel Kraemer (1857-1937) who was a farmer, rancher, and businessman born in Illinois who is considered to be one of the major developers of the city of Anaheim, California in the 1920s, 8) Jana Rae Kramer (1983) who is an American actress and country music singer known for her role on the TV show One Tree Hill, having been born in Rochester Hills, Michigan, 9) John Albert “Jack” Kramer (1921-2009) who was an American tennis player during the 1940s and 1950s who was from Las Vegas, Nevada, who was ranked no. 1 in the world for several years, and one tournaments such as Wimbledon, US Open, and French Pro, and 10) William Erik Kramer (1964) who is a former American football quarterback born in Encino, California who played for 5 different teams in the NFL and CFL from 1987 to 1999.
The genealogy or pedigree of the Kramer family can be traced back several hundred years. One of the earliest documented bearers of this name was Burkhart Kraemer, who was born in Germany around 1520. He married a woman named Elisabeth and had two sons with her: Paulus and Johannes. His son Paulus Kramer was born in Rheinland, Prussian, Germany in around 1545. He married Anna Enger and had a son with her named Sonntag. Sonntag was born in Germany (Deutschland) in 1588. He married a woman named Elsa and fathered a child with her named Johann. This Johann Valentine Kramer was born in Dudweiler, Rheinland-Pfalz in 1620. He married Margretha Fritsch and had the following issue with her: Johann Peter and Elisabeth Catharina. Johann Peter, also known as Hans, Kramer was born in Dudweiler, Saarbrucken, Saarland, Germany in 1653. He was a miller and brew master by trade. He married Anna Barbara Lorenz and had three children: Hans Adam, Mathias Wilheim, and Margarethe (Klas). His son, Mathias Wilheim Kramer (or Kreamer or Kraemer), was born in Dudweiler in 1692. It is possible he bore a coat of arms that depicted a black ram’s head on a yellow shield. He went to colonial America and arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732. He had married Elisabeth Theiss. They had numerous issue together as follows: Anna Caecilia, Andreas Ferdinand, Johann Jacob, Martin, Johann Henrich, Maria Catharina, Ludwig, and Christiana. His son Andreas Ferdinand “Andrew” Kramer (or Kreamer) was born in Lampertheim, Odenwald, Hess, Germany in 1712. He went to the American colonies with his father where he married Maria Magdalena Birckel in Lutheran Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1738. He was the father of the following children: Anna Christina (Gutmann), Ludwig, Andrew, Andreas, Johannes, Daniel, Johan George Sr., John George, John Jacob, Jacob, Christina, Catharine Elizabeth, Adam, Christina, Anna Rosina (Dubbs), and Michael. Two of these sons went on to produce other sons.
First, his son Adam Kramer was born in Tulpohocken Township, Pennsylvania in 1753. He married Crestena Dubbs and had two sons with her as follows: Ludwig and Philip.
Second, his son John George Kramer was born in Bethel, PA in 1746. He married Anna Sophia Gutman and had the following issue with her: John George Jr., Johann Wilhelm, Andreas, Johann Henrich, Catherine Margaret, Daniel, Catherine Elizabeth (Baddorf), and Michael. His son John George Jr. was born in Berks, PA in 1767. He married Margaretha Elizabeth Beyer and had four sons with her as follows: George, Michael, John, and David. His son John Kreamer was born in Pine Grove, PA in 1801. He married Catherina Krigbaum and had the following issue with her: George Washington, Samuel, Susannah, Margaret, David, and William. His son George Washington Creamer was born in Centre County, PA in 1828. He married Matilda Neill and had the following issue with her: John N., Marietta C. (Grammon), George Franklin, Forrest H., Robert Lafayette, William Hudson, Rebecca (Grammon), Frances Emma Richardson, and Margaret Jane (Irey). He passed away in Kansas in 1903. His son George Franklin Creamer or Cramer was born in Pennsylvania in 1857. He married Emma Belle Phelps in 1882 in Kansas. They had the following children together: John Rossmore, Maurice Edgar, Sarah Mabel, Leo Vernon, Maud E., Pearl Emma (Swedener), and Roy Franklin. His son, Reverend John Rossmore Creamer, was born in Lenora, Kansas in 1883. He married Eva May Martin and had two issue with her: Lyle and Laura Emma (Skinner). His son Lyle M. was born in the 1900s, had children, and passed away in the 1960s.
Another branch of the Kramer family emigrated from Germany to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania aboard the Britannnica in 1773. The following members were recorded in the ship’s manifest: Ludwig, Martin, Johnann Georg, Johan Martin, Johan Balthaser, and Johann Adam Kraamer. Johann Georg came from Kramer was from Karlsbrunn. According to Perrinhistory.net, “Johan Balthaser and Johann Georg probably both worked initially at a glass making facility at Manheim, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, then moved to Frederick County, Maryland, working at the Amelung glass works at New Bremen. This facility went bankrupt in 1790, and members of the Kramer family subsequently moved west. While en route the caravan stopped at Tomlinson's Tavern near the present village of Grantsville, Md., between Cumberland, Md., and Uniontown, Pa., on the trail which later became the National Road. Here they met Albert Gallatin, who had purchased and named the town New Geneva after his native Swiss city of Geneva”.
Giert Kramer was born in Delftholt, Germany around 1640. He married Beate Smith and later Maria von Rechen in Bergen, Norway. He was the father of the following children: Claus Giertsson, Hans Giersten, Herman Giersten, Jan, Dorothe Dyring (Kaee), Henrich, Giert Giersten, Hendrich Giersten, and Beate (Bennechen). His son Giert Giertsen Kramer was born in Bergen, Norway in 1673. He had the following issue: Beate, Christen, Regine Giertsdatter (von Essen), Giert Giersten, Jan Giersten, Cornelius, Thomas Giersten, Maren Giertsdatter, and Herman Giertsen.
Johanne Kraemer was born in Schifferstadt, Germany in around 1730. His son Stephan was born in the same town around 1750. Stephan married Catherina Englert and had the following issue with her: Martin, Johannes, Georg, Valentine, Francis Jacob, and Maria Francisca. His son Francis Jacon Kraemer was born in Schifferstadt, Bayern, Germany (Deutschland) in 1783. He married Maria Eva Hebberger and had the following issue with her: Margaretha, Martin Joseph, Catherine, Joannes, Gertrude, Georg Michael, and Valentin. His son Joannes (or Jacob) Kramer was born in the same town in 1815. He married Kartharina Beckman and had two children with her: Valentin and Maria Anna.
It is interested to note that were four soldiers with the surname Cramer in the Muster Roll of Valley Forge, an important battle in the American Revolution. Those four names are as follows: Andrew Cramer (2nd New Jersey), Jacob Cramer (German), Jacob Cramer (German, 1st Lieutenant), and Jacob Cramer (4th Pennsylvania).