Kieliger Surname History
see "Meaning and Etymology"
Kieliger Meaning & Etymology
The origins of the Kieligers lie in The Cantons of Uri and Glarus in central Switzerland.The oldest entry found to this day was recorded in the "Landleutebuch" of Uri, when on the second Sunday in May 1476 the full citizenship and right of residence was granted to Hermann Kieliger and his children against the sum of 4 florins. From then on to this day, the Kieligers have been recorded as residents of the community of Silenen (and others) in the canton of Uri.
However, their origins go further back to the (neighboring) canton of Glaris from where they immigrated around 1350 via the Klausen Pass into the Schächental and the Altdorf/Bürglen area of Uri. Church records show that they lived in the village of Linthal in a spot called "Kieligen". This field name has survived to this day and can still be found on survey maps (traceable even via Google maps). It is debatale whether the field name has derived from the family name or the other way round. "Chieli" or "Kieli" is a local dialect word for "cattle" or "cows" in an affectinota diminutive form. In the early 14 century most smallholds and farmsteads only had goats and sheep, but church records show that the early Kieligers already possessed cattle. So the name could simply mean "those with cattle" and the field name of Kieliegen might have got its name as the place where they tended to their cattle. (There is another legend which points out the closeness to the numerous Irish Killian/Killiker/ Killigher clans and to St. Kilian who indeed came as a missionary to central Europe and might have left descendants. But personally I favour the first theory).
In Glaris the name died out in the 17th century and in Altdorf in the 19th century. So all the present day Kieligers go back to the afore-mentioned Herman Kieliger and his descendants in Silenen/Uri.
(Author: Franz Kieliger, Berne, Switzerland)