Kälin (Kaelin) Family Coat of Arms


It seems from the research of my brother and others around the States that the Kaelins of America emigrated to America from the town of Einsiedler of Schwyz Canton in Switzerland.  My particular branch landed in New York, made their way to Pennsylvania and from there traveled on to Louisville, Kentucky.  In Louisville, Kentucky, you will find two branches of Kaelins.  I suppose that we are related but we do not interact for the most part.  Perhaps there was a rift some time back.  I know not.  The fact remains that for the most part the Kaelins of the Highlands and the Kaelins of St. Matthews (my branch) do not much relate in the present.

My older brother,  who now calls Augusta, Georgia home, has conducted a fairly comprehensive survey of our family genealogy.  In his research, he’s come across various legends, symbols and stories of our family and it’s various branches.  One of those symbols is the family crest or coat of arms.  This is depicted below in color.  Prior to this find, I had only seen various black and white iterations of the Kälin Coat of Arms.   It’s a fairly distinctive insignia with a rich tradition and meaning.  If one pays heed to the legend.

I will leave it to the article below to tell the tale. 

A Short Article From The Einsiedler Gazette KALIN. Old Einsiedler forest people, who are represented in all quarters with numerous families. Many clergymen, monks, and nuns came from them. Peter Kälin from Einsiedeln, born 1700, died 1762, became abbot of the monastery of Wettingen in 1745. Many of this name are also represented among Einsiedler artists. Konrad Anton Kälin from Langruti was a painter and executed the pictures on the side altars in 1752, St. Anton and Brother Klaus, in the church in Willerzell. Meinrad Kälin, born 1790, died 1834, painted miniature portraits at first, later landscapes in water color, that he etched in copper himself, especially of Gotthardstrasse for Fusslin in Zurich. Josef Kälin, carver, carved for Pfaffikon about 1693 the statues of St. Josef and St. Anna and in 1704 a crucifix, and simultaneously a Mater Dolorosa for the monastery in Fahr. This Josef Kälin is not the same sculptor of the same name, who according to the death register drowned on 2 April 1709:>>Josephus Kälin, lapicida, aquis submersus<<. Josef Adelrich Kälin, born 1728 and his sons Peter Paul, 1757-1834 and Josef Meinrad, 1761-1818, were artistic locksmiths. In 1827 Josef Benedikt Kälin performed the first lithography in Einsiedeln with the support of the monastery (P. Gall Morrel). From his studio came the illustrations in the Fass-Rigert history of the Canton of Schwyz of 1832-1833 and the accompanying coat of arms. From Einsiedeln also came the Kälin family that settled in Schwyz and was named as a (squatter/small farmer/resident with no citizen rights) in Rodel in 1676. They were admitted as new citizens in 1798 and appointed land in the old quarter in 1806. Politically the Kälin family came to the fore in the rebellion of 1764. Councilman Josef Kälin in Wani, Benedikt and Rupert were captured as leaders of the rabble(?) and taken to Schwyz and beheaded on the meadow with two saddlemakers. Josef Meinrad Kälin in 1803 was the first provincial baliff after the Helvetian (union?) and was reelected seven times by 1823. The coat of arms can be found in the chapel of 1682 with the name P. Peter Kälin, died 1695: in red a silver gorget on a trimount, accompanied by three golden stars.

According to the research of Dee Kaelin of the Kaelin Genealogy Page, the name Kaelin seems to come from the word Kehl meaning throat in a local Swiss-German dialect.

It is my understanding that the Kaelin name, in it’s original spelling of “Kälin”, holds Swiss Citizenship prior to 1800. This name originated in the town of Einsiedeln, Canton Schwyz, Switzerland. Kaelins make up about one-third of the names, and is the largest surname group in the town. The earliest mention of the name is from about the 1300s and the first time this name appears on any document was in August 1319. The name supposedly comes from the German word “Kehle”, which means throat. In 1609, all families in Einsiedeln obtained a Stamm-Number. The Kalin Clan, whose numbers consist of 48 lines, obtained the numbers 78 through 120. It has been suggested that a Kälin may have been involved with the forming of the Swiss Confederation, although to my knowledge there is no evidence to support this theory. It has also been suggested that there has been a Kälin serving in the Swiss Guard for hundreds of years, possibly since it’s inception. Again, I have not been able to confirm this. In Switzerland the name is spelled “Kälin”; in America it has been consistently spelled “Kaelin”.

The picture below is of a small stained glassed depiction of the Kaelin Coat of Arms.  Given to Walter Kaelin by his father about 30 years ago.  Walter, in his correspondence with my brother, told of the Battle of Montgarten between 3000 Swiss Peasants and an Hapsberg (Austrian) Army.  The Swiss supposedly won this battle with 12 casualties vs 3000 casualties for the Austrians.  The Spartans have nothing on that.  I wonder if this is legend or historical fact.

KAELIN_WAPPEN aApparently the Swiss Confederation were fiercely independent.  As much then as they are today.  I admire that.  In this age of globalism and anti-Nationalism, the Swiss are maintaining their independence from the great national mergers such as the Euro Union.  It will free them of the mass corruption that results from the influence of Germany and France.

File:Schlacht am Moorgarten.jpg

1315 A.D., The Battle of Morgarten.
Swiss peasants shower rocks down onto 20,000 Austrian Knights causing them to flee into a lake where many of them drowned.  2,000 Austrians died. 12 Swiss peasants died

* Credit for much of the Information hereon and the Pictures goes to my older Brother ~ Terry

43 comments on “Kälin (Kaelin) Family Coat of Arms

  1. Hello,
    my boyfriend’s last name is Kaelin, from Illinois.
    most likely related.
    i would like this link emailed to me for printing for him!
    keep updating !!
    (i am also working on my own family background)

  2. my maiden name is kaelin and my family is from louisville kentucky. my grandfathers name was alfred albert kaelin and i know that his fathers family came to america from switzerland my great grandfather was the first child to be born here in u.s .

  3. Any relation in the family geneology to Gustave adolph Kalin. Born july 1857. His birthplace is listed as Lutzerland Germany. I can not find any lutzerland in germany. He immigrated to usa in 1881. Any information usefull.

    • Info I have always known is that Gustave Adolph Kalin was born in Prussia (Germany). He was my great-grand-father and was the father of my grand-father John Campbell Kalin who died 9/15/1918 when my father was only 7 years old.

  4. My great grandfather Joesph M Kalin came into the New York area and settled in Syracuse where he worked for the railroad. I am now trying to track him back into Switzerland, any help on where to go?

    • Jerry, the Mormons have tracked everyone. lol Seriously, go to their genealogy site and, if you can get in, I’m sure you’ll find something there.

      If not, shoot me your email and I’ll send it to my brother. He’s done a great deal of genealogy on the American Kalins.

  5. I have a headache from alll the searching..lol religion and where my family came in is my biggest problem at this point I have some records from einsiendeln on their departure and then have them 15 years later in Ohio. Where my family is from and the name changed at some point. I would love to be in contact with you or your brother to maybe get more info or at least some direction I love doing it. Thank you.

    Re: Josef Andreas Kalin born November 29, 1843 einsiendeln .

  6. My name is Susan Aiken, I live in San Diego, ca, my grandmother on my dad’s side is Clara Bernice kaelin(Aiken) she is from the st. Matthews branch.. I come out to Louisville a lot am I was researching my family for a while but could never get past about 5-6 gen. Iv heard stories about a royal girl who married a peasant and got booted outta the family and my grandma told me that there was a ruby ring and saber that she had and got split between her kids. My gma had the ring as a child but her bro (who had mental issues) flushed it, so it’s gone, but I came across this page and it excites me to know there r others out there that r looking for info also and can answer some questions I have.. Thx

    • Hey Susan, I believe that we are related. I’ve heard stories of your part of the family from my Grandma Esther when I was a child.

      My older Brother is the guy who does all of the family research and genealogy. I’ve forwarded your info to him. He’ll probably contact you.

      Nice to hear from you.


  7. My great grandmother on my paternal side was a Kaelin and born in Switzerland. She wound up in Louisville, Ky where my grandmother was born. They later moved to Los Angeles. My father (who is deceased) told me we have a family home in Switzerland on 5 acres. It has a carving above the door that reads “The Three Hunters”. I don’t know if it’s in German or French. I am planning on visiting Switzerland and would like to visit the family home. How do you suggest I proceed in finding its location. I know in Switzerland they like to keep homes in families for generations and not for them to be sold. I embrace that wholeheartedly and want to check the status of the property, so I can figure out how to proceed. Maybe fix it up and go over and stay there. It’s been a dream of mine to live in Switzerland someday. Please advise. Thank you.

  8. My mother was a Kaelin. her father was Joseph Antoine, her mother was Helen Schnider both from Einsedland and lived in Louisville KY. with relitives named Eisenbach

  9. Looking for information on martin Kalin born 1866 im. 1884 or 1888 from Switzerland married Mary Kalin born 1868 im. 1889 from Switzerland

  10. My father is a Kalin born in Switzerland before the war. I have a Swiss gold ring passed down through the family from at least 3 generations back which has a dare inside it from I think the 1500s. My father’s first cousin was Hugo Koblet who won the overall and 3 stages in the 1951 Tour De France.

    • We are from Bern Switzerland (born and raised) and now I live in Cabo San Lucas Mexico (go figure) my older brother has a gold ring with our family crest and it has been in the family for the past 9 generations confirmed. I’m going to ask him the ring to show you pictures. Great pleasure and emotions to read and learn about our history… Greetings from sunny Cabo.

  11. My name is Gary Kaelin I am part of the Kaelin family from louisville, Ky. From the highlands .My fathers name is Ernest Kaelin and my grandfathers name was Frank Kaelin and was wondering about more information on the family

    • We’re from the St Matthews area. I think that we are related through the original two Kaelin Brothers who moved to the Louisville area from Pennsylvania area back in the late 1800s. Something like that. I’m not certain. My older brother has done quite a bit of the genealogy on this.

      • Is there any way that I can get in contact with your brother? I would love to find out more about my family heritage.

  12. Me llamo Lucas Kaelin. Mi bisabuelo Emilio Kalin escapó de Suiza (momento en el que debía realizar el servicio militar obligatorio) alrededor del año 1908. Llegó a Uruguay en primera instancia y luego a Argentina. Luego de un largo viaje de más de 1000 km a pie, llegó a la provincia de Misiones, Argentina. Actualmente somos un gran familia con vínculos muy fuertes. Sin duda, seremos todos parientes. Sería bueno que podamos crear un grupo en alguna red social para poder contactarnos y compartir información. Saludos desde Argentina.

  13. My great great grandfather was Carl “Charles ” Kaelin and he and his wife Josephine Meinrada Schoenbachler came from Einsedelin. We were the St Matthews branch. My great grandfather was August and his son Henry was my grandfather.

    • Ms Keller,
      Your Great Great Grandfather, Augustin (most often referred to as August), was the older brother of my Great Great Grandmother.

      As a young man, he was present as witness (and, I think, a sort of escort) the day she was married in 1871 to my Great Great Grandfather, as it is noted on the marriage certificate.

      She was, indeed, a very young woman (the youngest of thirteen! Their father, Joseph, was an only child) and I like to think her very brave. Once she had been married, Augustin went to Kentucky and it appears that many of his and his siblings’ consequential offspring stayed mostly in that area to this very day, whilst his youngest sister remained for the rest of her life in the very rural State where she was wed.

      This marriage preceded my birth by 110 years, to the exact day.

      She, as an immigrant from Switzerland to America, was the “First Mother” on my mother’s side in establishing American roots. She and her husband had many children; and when they were adults had many children of their own. She is solemnly buried with her own family around her; her headstone is in fine condition.

      One of her sons was my Great Grandfather, and his son was my Grandfather, and his daughter is my Mother. Be assured that the family had and still upholds an excellent reputation.

      If you would like to communicate more regarding what I have uncovered from my own online searches, I would be happy to share with you, Ms Keller. Perhaps my family would be willing to communicate with you as well, although at present I cannot speak with all certainty in that regard. Beyond myself, my family likewise has an interest in genealogy. I think it is fun, and grounding.

      Ladies and Gentlemen of the Kälin (Kaelin) Persuasion,
      Today is the first time I was able to connect my family lineage, potentially, with this one, and I do find it compelling. I think it exceptionally solid. If any one of you would like to strike up a correspondence, I am happy to do so. Please reply to this comment if any are keen.

      It appears that, with this website (and others), there is an opportunity to collate an impressive amount of genealogical information and to connect the dots, if I may, which no single brain can adequately accomplish, given our day-to-day duties and contemporary distractions.

      It has never been easier (regarding means), while simultaneously never been more difficult with regards to maintaining focus on the purpose. The threat environment with respect to exchanging genealogical information may also contain risks I don’t care to elaborate on as of this writing. The means of exchanging information are available; the means of developing a coherent “social network” are likewise handily available, and I think worth proceeding with. There are potential security risks at the same time, and so proceeding with fair caution is prudent, in one’s own interest and at each person’s own risk. Myself included.

      I have learned through experience and observation that we must all be active producers of evidence of a life lived and, simultaneously, selective pack-rats; preserving and guarding our personal histories and the histories of our families.

      You are alive. We are all very lucky to be so lucky!! Record this fact and fill in your story with whatever means you have at your disposal; your own Great Grandchildren may be all the more aware and, potentially, influenced by doing so… hundreds or more years down the line; one just does not know.

      I have spent many years thinking about how wonderful it is to exist in times such as these. Some might contend otherwise. Nevertheless, not a one of us would be here were it not for the sometimes hard and sometimes soft decisions made by our respective Grandparents. Most if not all their life decsisons remain unknown to us, except for a few logical considerations, one of which is the fact that they left breathtaking beauty of Switzerland for the homesteading opportunities of the United States (and it seems others as well).

      Though I knew them not, for their gift of life: I love them. I think it is important to view these names and sketchy histories through a lens of love and gratitude; it is a fantastic combination of the cognitive and emotional, as it motivates behavior and action beyond slim curiosity.

      Surely, would it not make sense that our Great Grandparents, were they able they to view us now (Perhaps they are!), that they would love us as parents and grandparents love their children? Or at the very least, confirm for themselves that their choices were paying off… hundreds of years after making the very, very hard decision to leave the Homelands! Wouldn’t I want that to be my own experience, to be in the position to know that I’d done right by my Grandchildren?

      As we can see though our researches (often exhausting and patchwork) it was not all that long before our time (This is the second day of 2017), when our that Great Grandparents would often have very large families for very practical reasons, and although tragedy would occur, as it always has, these parents carried on. There was always work to do; always. With luck, so will we. With luck, there always will be.

      They were, like us, motivated to accomplish the practical, fulfill the personal, contribute to the social and, more often than not, give tribute to the spiritual. Children are a combination of and contribution to these.

      What can be stacked on top of accomplishing one’s tasks, fulfilling one’s goals and duties, contributing to one’s communities and honoring the Almighty?

      Love. As a noun and a verb.

      There can be no doubt that the Grandfathers and Grandmothers who preceded us loved their children.

      Life can be a wild ride, or dreadfully mundane; yet, within the heart of each of us, we are all interested in the answer to the questions of “What am I?” and “What’s the story behind this person?” and “What was this person like?”

      Everyone likes a story, every person has questions and most all of us yearn for our families. Perhaps it is, what used to be called, the Swiss Disease we have within us: Nostalgia, for the Homeland and for family known and unknown kin.

      We can never fully know those people who are indisputably responsible for our very existence; nor can we ever find the full story of their lives and relationships. We can, if we are lucky, find sketches to look at and admire and ponder.

      The search, however, does help us to know ourselves a little bit better, and with a little luck maybe even each other.

      By knowing and honoring WHAT you are, it really helps you to know WHO you are; so that when you look in the mirror, you might see a wrinkle of your Grandmother or Grandfather, as surely as they did the same, and as surely as when their Grandparents looked at their children, they could see their own Grandparents… because there were no mirrors to reflect upon; only each other.

      Today, through research and reflection, I find I am also a Kälin (Kaelin), and that’s comforting.

      To remember is to honor. Preserve their memory; carry forward their honor.

      They are worth it, and so are you.


      • Hm, I think I made an error, confusing your August Kaelin with my August Schoenbachler. Actually, either way, he is OUR August Schoenbachler, as we may very well be related: The Schoenbachlers and Kaelins were constantly marrying eachother. These folks, they were tight; it is fascinating.

        In fact, I am very certain we are related, and here’s why: Josephine Meinrada Schoenbachler (your Great Great Grandmother) was my Great Great Grandmother’s older sister. These two Schoenbachler sisters had an older brother, Augustin J Schoenbachler (b. 8/28/1842 Willerzell Einsiedeln Switzerland); the gentleman to whom I was referring at the beginning of my original post.

        That is where I confused the two gentlemen Augusts. Nevertheless, we have before us two Augusts; one a Schoenbachler, and one a Kaelin.

        August Schoenbachler was Uncle to August Kaelin (Your Great Grandfather). I like to think that, although the name “August” was not during their lifetimes unusual, your Great Grandfather August may well have named after his Uncle, the brother of your Great Great Grandmother.

        I hope that at this time and with this posting, I am without error.

        Otherwise, I stand by all else previously posted.

        “To remember is to honor. Preserve their memory; carry forward their honor.

        They are worth it, and so are you.”


  14. I am trying to find out if anyone knows of Charles Karl Kaelin born 1841 and immigrated to Louisville around 1865? Married to J. Meinrada Schoenbachler. His parents were supposedly Joseph Isadore and Anna Schoenbachler but the ages don’t work out as his parents were 11 and 7 yrs old when he was born. Any ideas?

  15. Hello, I’m Jeffrey Kalin. My grandfather was Donald Kalin from the Detroit area of Michigan. My sister and I got a broach and ring with this crest on it when our grandparents died. I was told we came from Einsiedler and My sister has even visited the town on one of her many trips to Europe.

    • My great grandmother is Lena Ochsner from Einsiedeln and lived in Brooklyn NY. I think the ochsners and Kaelins intermarried. It’s been difficult to find anything about this side of my family because of NY records. If anyone has any info I’d appreciate it

  16. Hello, my grandfather is Donald Kalin from the Detroit area of Michigan. My sister and I received a broach and ring respectively with this family crest on them when our grandparents died seeing that we are the two oldest remaining Kalins of our line. Einsiedler Is where is was told we came from and my sister has had the chance to visit there on one of her many trips to Europe.

    • Mr Kalin,
      Do all you can to preserve and protect those family heirlooms; they are artifacts of great meaning and to the people who brought them from Switzerland and passed them down the lines, they symbolized a heritage to be proud and protective of. They are the seals of the homeland and community; they are a proof of belonging.

      The value was greater than anything monetary. Monitary and percieved value are the two worries of main concern. The percieved value must outweigh any sort of monitary consideration.

      Try to expand any stories you may have (through memory, pictures, journals, family stories) and share them with the younger set, so that anyone else receiving them may solemnly preserve them and never carelessly misplace, or consider parting with for some sort of rubbish sum, or discard them as trinkets or playthings.

      It is so important to impress upon youngsters the fragility of family ties and the duty to maintain them, and its vestiges. There are ways. When it comes to objects being being kept within a family, there has to be an emotional and historical connection with the objects. Those who safeguard the objects must be of a mind more prepared for hardship than suffering the idea of giving up the heirlooms.

      I wish you luck.


  17. Hello I am granddaughter of Rose Kaelin Liebert born here in St Matthews, Ky. Her mother was Rose Meinrada Kaelin. My grandmother married Henry Richard Liebert
    Rrelated to Schoenbachlers, Zehnders, Meisners who settled in this area. Lots of German people. My grandfather’s people were from Germany?

    • I am a great granddaughter August Kaelin son of Carl Kaelin and Josephine Meinrada Schoenbachler. My mother is Margaret Kaelin. We all grew up in the St Matthews, eastern Jefferson Co area also, still trying to figure out those ancestry lines in Switzerland. I know they were from Einsedelin but there are so many Kaelin family lines once you trace there it’s impossible to figure them out. Any clues on Carl or Meinradas parentage?

    • Ms Carrico (as you have no name directly posted),

      The Kaelins (the family name which concerns this particular web-page) and Schoenbachlers (from whom I am directly descended) were not from Germany, although they were definitely Germanic,

      These two families most certainly came from Switzerland, from what is the present day Canton of Schwyz, which itself is comprised of several districts and municipalities.

      Many Germans (nationally Prussians at the time) and some Swiss (only a few hundred thousand) immigrated to the United States during the 19th century.

      Liebert is certainly seems a Germanic name.

  18. Hello Im a kaelin living in Upstate NY. Im not sure if we share any relation but its always nice to meet more kaelins and learn more about our background (its kinda hard because Im only aware of two other Kaelins my Great grandfather and my father)

  19. So Interesting to read.. I wonder however my Grandfather Walter Kaelin is the Walter you speak of… His parents where Mienrad and Emma Kalin switched to kaelin at Ellis island

  20. Another Kaelin here. In Columbus, OH, but originally from Cincinnati where there were a whole bunch of us. Members from the Cincinnati Kaelins now live in New Jersey, Florida, Texas, and Colorado.

  21. Hello, I am a young member of the Kaelin Family from St. Louis Missouri. If any of you have information about Vincent Leo Kaelin, his father perhaps, that would be lovely. I would love to also hear about any family traditions, and artifacts anyone has.

  22. buenas noches , mi nombre es Yenny Fuentes , soy de Chile , sudamerica.
    mi tatara-abuelo vino como los primeros colonos en el sur de chile ,en ese entonces venía con el apellido LITSCHI KALEN , pero su verdadero apellido era LITSCHI Kälin . ME sorprendió encontrar información sobre mi antepasados y lo que mas me llama la atención es que muchos eran artistas . me gustaría saber mucho más sobre ellos .
    gracias …. Temuco , Región de la Araucanía Chile

  23. I was born in vevey Switzerland but emigrated to South Africa with my mother at a young age. I currently reside in Warwick in England but have been to Einsiedeln with my father Jean-Pierre Kaelin and it’s a beautiful town with our name represented throughout and funny enough a member of my dads family had a hotel there which we stayed at. It really is a must see. So hi to all you other Kaelin’s.

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