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.
Apparently 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.
1315 A.D., The Battle of Morgarten.
1,400 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