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

Lipstick Jihad — an excerpt

Our tears are sweet, our laughter venomous,
We’re pleased when sad, and sad when pleased,
We have broken every stalk, like a wind in the garden
We have picked clean the vine’s caldelabra
And if we found a tree, still standing, defiantly,
We cut it’s branches, we pulled it up by the roots.

—-Simin Behbehani

Lipstick Jihad is an excellent book about a womans journey back into her Iranian homeland.  Azedeh Moaveni was born in the States and raised amongst the Iranian diaspora caused by the Revolution in 1979.  Later, she returns to her home in Teheran to cover the Reformist movement at the turn of the century.  She writes about the challenges of living in Iran as an Iranian-American and the inner conflicts of dealing with the [sur]reality of Islamic Iran as juxtaposed against her familial and diaspora created memories of her homeland.  It’s a moving story told from a unique inside outsider perspective.

I’ve enjoyed reading the book.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/03/lipstick-jihad-interview-azadeh-moaveni http://www.amazon.com/Lipstick-Jihad-Growing-Iranian-American/dp/1586481932 http://muslimahmediawatch.org/2008/10/lipstick-jihad/


Last year some time, France banned the Burqa.  I agreed with this ruling wholeheartedly.  Some argued that France should not meddle in cultures and customs of the various immigrant peoples who inhabit their country.  Still others argued that the burqa and by extension the hijab or veil is part of the right to “freedom”  of speech a part of the expression of the culture of Islamic peoples.  I simply can not agree with this.

To me the hijab/veil and the burqa is a symbol of oppression.  It’s a relic of the patriarchal systems of our forefathers and a means of control.  It’s the tool used to enslave women.  We used similar tools of oppression here in the dark ages of the west.

These things and like items used to oppress people should be relegated to the dark past.  Discarded and forgotten for all time.

How would I feel if I were forced to wear similar tools of oppression.  What’s the difference between the hijab and the star of David which the Nazis forced on the Juden of 1930s era Germany?  What is the difference between this attitude and the attitudes of White Americans towards Blacks in the early 1900s in the Jim Crow Era of the South?

I see no difference.  Women in Iran are thrown in prison and tortured and raped for the simple offense of being seen in public with a non-relative male or showing too much ankle or for having the audacity to think and speak out.  They’re beaten on the streets for showing an inch too much of hair.  Young Men are brutalized by the basiji thugs for accompanying non-relative females from a Cafe to the curb to hail a taxi.

Do we excuse these behaviors in the name of cultural diversity?  Do we welcome this into our countries?  Do we allow this barbaric behavior into our neighborhoods?

I think we should not.

Someone will make the comment eventually; “So what do you want to do?  Invade Iran?”  That is not what this is about.

We can’t do anything about the barbarism of Islamic Sharia in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

However, we do have the choice of not tolerating it’s introduction into our own home countries.

I think that is where the world should make it’s stand.

I’m of the opinion that banning the burqa was not going far enough. The hijab should be banned as well.  Similar resolutions should be introduced in the UN to end this oppressive reign of terror on women.


I pray you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.

I pray you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I pray you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I pray you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger..

I pray you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I pray you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I pray you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

Thought that was nice…

Why Me Lord?

Johnny Cash. This is a song from my youth. As a child, my Mother would take us to church almost every day of the week. I remember going to tent revivals of Leroy Jenkins and a host of others. Parts of my family owned Churches.  Uncle Michael, who passed away much too young from diabetes, was a gifted guitarist and singer.  At least, I remember it that way.

We’d go to different churches all the time.  Evangel Tabernacle in it’s various incarnations.  Trinity Assemblies of God.  Clifton Baptist for summer bible school.  Ginger and I attended a choir at Clifton Baptis.  Forever, it seems.  Although, I think I was more a disruption than a singer.

“I’m a little piece of tin.

Nobody knows what shape I’m in.

Got four wheels and a running board.

I’m a four door,  I”m a Ford.

Honk Honk Rattle Rattle Honk Beep Beep!!”


Our Dad drove the Sunday School bus at least one winter or one year that I can remember.  We’d sing songs on the bus on the way to Sunday School and Church.

“Oh you can’t get to heaven on roller skates…

Cause you’ll roll right past those pearly gates!”

I remember waking early in the morning because we’d have to get the bus from the Church.  Then make the rounds through the neighborhood to pick up the families and kids to take them to Evangel and Sunday School.

But this song.  I sometimes ask myself or God or whomever might be listening.

“What have I done to deserve my life?”

I feel so fortunate.  Blessed by God or the Gods.

Strange to think that at one time, I’d had “hands laid on me” by Jimmy Swaggert and Billy Graham and no telling who else.  I only went up there because Ginger wanted me to go with her.  But it was still a neat experience.

The only preacher or evangelist from those days who hasn’t fallen or become a shadow and hypocrite is Billy Graham.  Swaggert, Robertson, Bakker, Falwell.  They all preach hate or they are have been caught “being human” or “making mistakes” of all sorts.  The Bakkers being the most public and egregious.

I remember going to Royal Rangers.  A sort of Christian Boy Scouts.  Basically the same thing but directly sponsored by Evangelical Churches.  “Prepared,  Always Ready.  Ready to…”

Childhood and Church.  I can’t imagine what it would have been like with no Tent Revivals.  None of the memories of Grandma Hackney, Aunt Lola reading the bible to each other over the phone.  The impromptu Bible Studies that were held at Grandmas house with Aunt Lola, Aunt Hope, Aunt Helen, Momma, Barbara Jean, Mary Ann, Aunt Lillian and many other friends and family at the house on 120 N. Bellaire.  They were Pentecostal.  They were holy rollers.  And it was always electric.

It made life interesting that is for certain.

As kids, we used to spy on them.  And we’d sometimes feel the “spirit of the Lord” emanating from the room.  They believed so fervently that one could not hope but feel that vibe or that spirit if you watched them.  I was fascinated by it myself.  The Spirit of the Lord.

If a child was sick and in the same house as this group of praying and Bible reading women.  There’d be a laying on of hands as they surrounded the bed or couch on which one lay sick.  They’d pray for you.  And I swear to this day, it helped heal whatever ailed you.

I remember them speaking in tongues.  We’d imitate them as children by saying “heeka ma hockema, seeka ma sockema.” We’d run around the room.  Screaming and shouting that as well as the obligatory “Praise Jesus!  Halleluba!  Amen!  Praise the Lord!”  Imitating what we thought we saw in our parents and grandparents.

One story has it that my older brother Terry was upset when my mother had hands laid on her by a preacher.  They asked people to the front who wanted to “repent” or be prayed for “in the name of God.”  My Mother was one who frequently went forward at these times.   The preacher starts to pray for Mom and does that whole “slap the forehead” thing that Pentecostal preachers did back then.  When he slapped “Sister Millie” on the forehead and yelled; “BE HEALED!”  Momma fell to the floor.  Of course, she was helped down.  They didn’t just let her fall.  Upon seeing all of this frightening act, Terry who was all of 4 or 5 years old starts running toward the front yelling; “You get off of my Mommy!  You get off of my Mommy!”

I guess I drifted away from the Church about the time that my Mom and Dad were divorced.  I was about 16 years old.  My Mother re-married and we started the Mormon/LDS expereince.  I drifted in and out of the Church for about a decade before I left it altogether.  I almost married a Mormon girl that I met in Korea.  Sandra.  I was baptized and actually started being a good and sober fellow for a bit.

But I fell away from that after a time as well.  I, personally, have no bad memories about the Church.  None of my experiences were bad.  Mostly good.  Mostly decent folks with whom I interacted over the years.  I’m sure that I met a few bad apples here and there.  But not enough to convince me that all of Christianity is evil.

My personal opinion is the organized religion is unhealthy.  We, humans, are too prone to the mob mentality.  We start assigning spaces in the afterlife for ourselves and those who are not of the same belief all too easily and this leads to too much division in the here and now.  Not sure that Jesus intended it that way when he said; “Love the least of me as you would me.”  But this is merely my mortal opinion.

I’m still more of the mind to follow Buddhism and let others follow what path they will.

Nevertheless, religion was an amazing, exciting and major part of my childhood.  I do not regret the experience of it.  I feel fortunate to have had many of those experiences and many of those people in my life.


Happy Birthday Momma!


“I will never forget my mother, for she implanted and nurtured in me the first germ of goodness; she opened my heart to the impressions of nature; she awakened and furthered my concepts, and her doctrines have had a continual and beneficial influence in my life.”

Immanuel Kant


God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.
Rudyard Kipling


With an alcoholic father who rarely gave us his love and provided no security, I’m sure that I could have gone down the solitary path of anger and insanity. For a while, I did travel this path. Abandoning reason. Abandoning hope. Losing direction. No cause. No cares and plenty of self loathing. I feared who I was and who I might become.

Had no one stepped in and offered me a different choice, the possibility of a different path. Had no one attempted to light my path with the fruits of knowledge and education and love and compassion, perhaps I would still be headed towards destruction.

I was fortunate.

Along my path, there were signs posted. Books left for me to trip over. Candles to light my way. Knowledge left along the side of the road. There for me. If I would only take the time to acknowledge it. Read it. Ponder it.

Eventually, I noticed these things. I read and studied and pondered life and my path.

Still I traveled a path fraught with the mines that I had laid to destroy me. Booby traps of the mind. Set in anticipation of unwanted, undeserved successes and accomplishment. It’s funny how some of us are wired to self destruct. We are brought up and something in us is told that we don’t deserve success. Along the path of our achievements are the traps we lay to rob us of our happiness. Our glory arrives always with our shame. So when we reach for success, we simultaneously push the trigger that implodes all of our efforts and brings us back down to the hell that we think we deserve.

I felt this way for a great part of my life.

But thankfully my Mother never gave up on me. She sent books to enlighten me. Sent poems of encouragement. My mother introduced me to philosophers, poets, the great thinkers, concepts unknown to me. I read everything that she sent me. And when I finally was able to comprehend it all, I started to incorporate some of it into my life.

I started to realize that I could choose my path. I realized that I did deserve happiness. The realization came that I was not my father and did not have to descend into that same madness. That I could become something different. The thing that destroyed much of my childhood did not have to destroy life.

So I changed. I became a much happier being. A more complete person. I grew to enjoy life and possibility.

Now I have traveled all over the world. Experienced people and places. Enjoyed cultures. Been a part of amazing adventures.

None of this would have been possible without the love of my Mother. Had she not shared with me her experiences and the knowledge gained in her studies, I’d never had climbed the Great Wall or experienced Cambodia. None of that would have been possible.

I owe much of what I am now to my Mother.

If I were dammed of body and soul, I know whose prayers would make me whole, mother o’ mine o mother o’ mine.
Rudyard Kipling

Esther June (Hall) — my Grandma Esther


grandma-esther-and-grandpa-norman.jpg grandma-esther-and-grandpa-norman-166-south-pope-street.jpg

My Grandmother was one of a kind. She was kind and loving and supportive of me in my early years. She was just an awesome Grandmother. She was taken away from us too early. I sometimes wonder how different life would have been with her around. How much different I would have been. How much different the family would be. I know she loved me. I remember spending many a summer night with her. Carl Junior and Todd would be there at times as well. Those were some of the best days of my early childhood.

Funny, in those days, kids were allowed in bars. And every neighborhood, it seemed, had a corner tavern. Grandma and Grandpa Norman would cart us along and give us quarters to play pinball or the bowling game at Vernon’s Bar. They’d give us money to run across the street to the corner grocer to buy some comic books and candy. Then we’d sit at one of the tables and read, play, daydream or nap as they drank a few beers or whiskey sours, smoked Pall Malls and Chesterfields and share the weeks gossip and events. After a bit, we’d wrap it up and go back to the house. Grandpa would watch the news and Grandma Esther would call around to friends and gossip. I remember well her conversations with Aunt Bea Pitt.

It was a different world back then. And Grandma Esther was one of the best things about that bygone era.

Grandma Esther loved the beer barrel polka. She loved the US. She loved her children to a fault. She loved her Grandchildren (I’m certain that would have been to a fault as well. lol) She was the first person to teach me how to be patriotic. To love my country. She was highly superstitious. She loved people. She was trusting.

These are the things about her that I remember through the eyes of a child. I was around 12 or so when she passed.

The thing I remember most is how much I loved her, how much she loved me and how safe I felt with her.

I know life in those days was not perfect. We all have our faults. There are other times to speak of these things.

For now, this is my remembrance of a woman who in my memory was an awesome Grandmother. Who loved me. Who I loved and still love dearly.

Happy Birthday, Grandma Esther.