Kruger


Select Kruger Surname Genealogy

Kruger's origins are German.  Two derivations are given:
  • The first is from the German krug, meaning an inn or tavern, and kruger or kroger would describe a host or innkeeper.  The name occurs mainly in northern Germany.
  • The second is from kruog, meaning jug or pot.  Kruger here was an occupational name for a maker or seller of mugs, pitchers and jugs.  This explanation seems to apply to the Krugers in southern Germany.
There are more Krugers in northern than in southern Germany; thus probably more Krugers derived from krug than from kruog.

German spellings were Kruger and Kroger, each with an umlaut.  These became Kruger and Krueger in their travels to English-speaking lands.  Some Krugers came from Poland as Kruger can be a Jewish name.

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Early references to the Kruger surname in Germany were Lotze Crugir of Kassel (in northern Hesse) in 1351 and Henecke Krogher of Hanover in 1420.  Their numbers today include:
  • 120,000 Kruegers.  These Kruegers are mainly to be found in northern Germany, with a concentration in Mecklenburg west and Brandenburg east. 
  • and 20,000 Kroegers.   The Kroegers turn up in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg along the western side of Germany, extending into Holland.
Many of the 19th century emigrants were recorded as coming from Prussia.

South Africa.   The Kruger name has been long-standing and numerous in South Africa and is seen as Afrikaan.  It is the 15th most common surname in the country today, most found in the Transvaal (Gauteng today). 

Paul Kruger
is a famous name in South African history.  His origins were German with French Huguenot elements, not Dutch.  As a young boy, he trekked with other Afrikaans to Natal, the Orange Free State and Transvaal and later won such a reputation for cleverness and coolness under pressure that he became their leader and led them against the British in the Boer War of Independence in 1899-1902.  The memory of Paul Kruger lives on with the Kruger National Park, the town of Krugersdorp, and the Krugerrand gold coin.

More recent Krugers have been Jimmy Kruger, apartheid Minister of Justice in the 1970's; the poet and playwright A.R. Krueger; and Tom Kruger and his son Nico, active through Namakwa Diamonds in South African diamond production


America.  The Kruger immigrants to America in the 19th century headed mainly to the US Midwest. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa took large numbers of them as many became farmers there.  One website in fact is devoted to the numerous Krugers of Great Lake county, Wisconsin

Among the Kruger/Krueger immigrants at that time were:
  • Martin and Magdalena Krueger, who had grown up on the German/Polish border and come to America in the late 1840's.   They settled in Columbia county, Wisconsin.  However, Martin died soon afterwards and it was his brother who was responsible for the raising of their two daughters. 
  • Walter Kruger, who came to America from Prussia in 1850 and settled to farm in Clayton county, Iowa.
  • Ernest Krueger, also from Prussia, who came to farm in Jones county, Iowa in 1856.  His son Charles Krueger later was known for his pedigree horses.
  • George and Sophia Kruger, who had come to Detroit from Mecklenburg in 1860.  Their son Henry prospered as a farmer in St. Clair county, Michigan, raising cattle, horses, and pigs.
  • Fred Kruger, who arrived with his father Lewis in 1866 and settled in Marinette, Wisconsin.  He later became a successful grocer and fishmonger in St. Ignace. 
  • Ludvig Krueger, a cabinet maker from Mecklenburg who immigrated in the 1880's and settled in the Sturgis area of Michigan.  The "e" in Krueger was later dropped after a family dispute.
  • and Anna Krueger, who - after her husband's death - migrated with her three children to Madison, Indiana in 1889.  One of her sons, Walter, rose to be a general in the US Army during World War Two.
Canada.   Joseph Kruger was a struggling paper merchant in New York in the early 1900's.  Looking for inspiration, he headed north to Montreal where he established a wholesale paper business.  At the time of his death in 1927, the company had just five employees.  It was his two sons, Gene and Bernard, who expanded Kruger Inc. into the Canadian paper products giant that it is today.  It remains family-owned.

"The litigous era of the Kruger story began in 1975 when Gene's son Joseph II, now the company's CEO, took over a Panamanian affiliate, cutting Bernard and his children out of the profits.  The protracted dispute only settled down in 1993 when Joseph paid out settlements totalling $1.36 million."  

Leonard Krueger came to Canada with his family in the early 1900's and settled in southern Manitoba.  He is known today for the scholarships he has bestowed to needy students.

Australia. 
JCA Kruger was a leader of the German community in western Victoria.  He arrived to farm in Hochkirch in 1855 and built the organ for the Lutheran church there.  The Kruger Family Committee published a booklet Johann Carl August Kruger and His Descendants in Australia in 1981.

There were two Carl Krugers who came to Queensland:
  • Carl (subsequently Charles) Kruger arrived, aged 16, in Brisbane in 1865 and followed his father into the butcher's business.  He later settled in Mayborough and became a cattle drover. 
  • another Carl Kruger came in the 1890's and set up an axe-handle manufacturing business which provedto be  very successful.  Two of his sons, Ted and Percy, used their inheritance to take up horse-breeding, acquiring the Lyndhurst stud farm in 1956.
Daniel Kruger grew up in South Africa but emigrated to Australia in the early 1900's.   During World War One he enlisted in the Australian army and fought with them on the Western Front.  He was captured by the Germans but later released.  There, however, the trail on him ends.

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If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:


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Gottfried Krueger founded the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company in Newark, New Jersey in 1858.  In 1935 Krueger beer became the first beer to be produced in cans.
Paul Kruger was President of the free Boer Republic of the Transvaal from 1881 to 1902 and led his people against the British during the Boer War.
Walter Krueger was an American soldier of German descent from Indiana, the first to rise from private to general in the US Army.
Otto Kruger was an American screen actor whose long career ran from 1915 to the late 1950's.  He was a grandnephew of South African President Paul Kruger.
Jimmy Kruger, born in Wales and adopted by Afrikaan parents, was South Africa's Minister of Justice in the 1970's during the apartheid years.

Select Krugers Today
  • 2,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 18,000 in America (most numerous in Wisconsin)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia).



PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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