Strickler Families of the World
Name Origins and Meaning
I know like me, many of you have often wondered just where your family name came from and what it means. Over the centuries the origins of family names has changed and adapted to their times. Early Germanic peoples only had a single name. As the population grew within clans it became necessary to invent new ways of identifying two individuals who might have the same name. This problem was in many cases solved simply by using an identifying characteristic; i.e. occupation, location, patonymic (named after father) or physical characteristic. Suddenly John who was a Schmidt (Smith) by trade became John Smith. John who lived under a hill became known as John Underhill. John who was the son of William became John Williamson. John who was short became John Short. In more recent years the use of a third or middle name has become a common practice. As populations grew even larger the time came when there might be two John Smiths in a town, so a middle name was added to distinguish them. Now that we have a basic understanding of name etymology lets get down to the task at hand, discovering and defining the origins of the Strickler name.
Over the years many have misinterpreted the meaning of the name Strickler by assuming the word was of German origins. The name Strickler in German would literally translate to one who weaves, or a weaver. However the origins of the name are not German but Swiss.

Strickler: The name can be broken into two parts, “Strick” and “ler”. The ending of “ler” was common in early Switzerland as a way of defining location. So the name Strickler literally means dweller on the Strick. In German the word Strick literally translates as cord, string or rope, however research has shown that in this case the word Strick is used as a slang definition of a long narrow pathway that connected the Cloister of Einsiedeln (also Einselden) with the village of Wädenswil. So the name Strickler is of locational origin.
Earliest records of the name show that the name has not always been Strickler as it is today. First mentions of the name occur during the 1200’s when a Monk who worked with the Einsiedeln Cloister was identified as Klaus (Nicklaus) am Strick.  The designation “am Strick” was the form most common in the early Swiss language to designate location. “Am” simply meant “of”. So “am Strick” meant “of the Strick.” As late as 1470 the name remained “am Strick” Earliest records of the name Strickler appear in 1488 with Kleinhans, Grosshans and Rudi Strickler who lived on Richterswilerberg at the Freudhübsch farm. The reason the name was changed or the exact timeframe for its transition from “am Strick” to Strickler is unknown.
OOPS!!! The map vanished when this file was uploaded using page builder!!!!!
Above is an early map of the area of Wädenswil. The blue line marks the location of the “strick”. The top of the map is towards the south. The left of the map is to the east and includes Lake Zürich in yellow. The red shield is the location of the castle of Wädenswil which today is in ruins. Lake Zurich is on the left.
Where was the Strick? The specific path or route called the Strick has been determined, led from Wädenswil, passed over the mountain and ended at Einsiedeln. The area where the family name first turned up was the part of the "Dominion of Wädenswil". However, the original Stricklers didn¹t live in the built-up area; instead they preferred to live "on the mountain", a regional term referring to the hilly, morainic landscape to the west of the lake of Zürich. Today the village of Samstagern is situated there and it is near that village the oldest known Strickler farms existed. The inhabitants of this sparsely settled area were of Alemannic descent. The Alemanni being a Gothic tribe named by the Romans had invaded Switzerland and Alsace during the 5th century. From 1287 until 1549 the area belonged to the "Command of Wädenswil" under the administration of the "Order of St. John of Jerusalem" at the old castle of Wädenswil. From its beginning the family began to spread throughout the surrounding area, where today one finds the villages Hütten, Schönenberg and Hirzel. It is noteworthy that for a number of centuries the areas to which the Stricklers spread always remained in the hills close to but on the other side of the administrative district's borders. Did this seemingly freedom-loving people want to stay as far as possible from their lords?
Other origins and variations of the name Strickler: During the course of research only one Strickler line has ever been found not to have its origins in Switzerland. This family however originally was not Strickler by spelling but evolved into that over a number of decades once in the United States. The line I am mentioning is that of Jacob Strickler, so called Jacob Strickler of Bucks County in the book Stricklers of Pennsylvania.  Research has shown that the family of Hans Jacob Strickler a.k.a. Jans Jacobus Stricklaer (b. 14 May 1699 d. 3 Mar 1786) is probably of Dutch descent finding its roots in the town of Zwiggelte, Holland with a man named Jans Hermann Strijker b. c 1520 in Holland. During the 1630’s-1660’s his descendants immigrated to what is now New York City, but then called New Amsterdam. The lived in an area called Flatbush in what is today Brooklyn, NY. By the early 1700’s members of this family had migrated to Somerset Co., NJ still as Strijker. While in Somerset members of the family began spelling their name Strjklaer. Jacob b. 1699 spelled his name Strijklar and in 1718 while in Pennsylvania it was recorded as Stricklaeer. It was not until the 1750’s that this family finally took its final spelling of Strickler.
Several families have changed from spelling their name Strickler to a variant of the name. These families all appear to be of Swiss origins. One, Christopher Christian Strickler b. 9 Feb 1748, s/o Johannes & Elizabeth (Sprenkle) Strickler, dropped the “r” from his name in 1777. His descendants kept using the name Strickle. Another, Jeremiah Strickler b. 9 Sep 1825 in Washington Co., MD s/o George and Barbara Ann (Brakefield) Strickler, dropped the “k” from his name. Subsequent generations of the family still spell their name Stricler. At least one German family near the town of Speyer changed the spelling of their name during the late 1770’s from Strickler to Striegler. Of course we cannot forget that over the years there have been numerous adoptions into the Strickler family. In these instances the name may carry on as Strickler but the lineage of Strickler is not genetic.
Last modified 16 November 2005
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