Schlaikjer Family

Schlaikier Coat of Arms

The Schlaikier family originated in Denmark, in or around the towns of Sønder Hostrup and Ensted, near Aabenraa. The name can certainly be traced back to 1700, and possibly as far back as 1540.

I added a lot to our family tree on Geni. My friend and relative Hans-Lorenz Schlaikier gave me some information from his many years of visiting villages and searching parish registers, which needs to be incorporated into the Geni tree. Some of the information is conjecture. Alas, Hans-Lorenz passed away and is no longer available to discuss these interesting issues.

When my ancestors came to the United States (so the story goes), the Ellis Island immigration officials mistook the Germanic "i" for a "j" and so our name came to be written that way.

There are some Danish Schlaikjers who also spell the name with a "j": it is not clear how they are related to my branch of the family. In fact, the three big unresolved genealogical connections are (1) those Danish Schlaikjers; (2) The Australian Schlaikiers; and (3) the St Louis Schlaikjers. It is possible to connect (2) and (3) to my tree, but the evidence is slim. In fact, Hans-Lorenz thought that Charles Schlaikjer (3) assumed the name and was not a relative. I tried to resolve these issues with Y DNA testing, but unlike on TV, this proved almost nothing. It all depends on statistics of mutation rates of junk Y DNA, and so all the tests showed with any certainty was that we are all from Northern Europe.

A published book contains possibly my favorite story about our family. The book is "Slesvigske Folkesagn" by Frederick Fischer, printed in Copenhagen in 1861. The story is about Hans Schlaikier, a peasant who is asked by his lord to do an impossible feat.

That "flaming lances" story is recounted early on in the manuscript Geschichte der Familie Schlaikier by Ernst Prahl (pre-1920), revised by Bruno Grimm (1999). I commissioned an English translation of these 261 pages, done by Anne Sherwin. This document also starts with a possible etymology:

Schlaikier is a name derived from a place of origin. Formerly spelled Schlaikjaer, it derives from Danish, from sli and kjaer, the Danish words for “tench” and “marsh.” Thus it indicates that an early ancestor of the family, at the time the name came into being, lived near a body of water rich in fish with a marshy bottom favoured by tench. This tench pond was probably understood to be a part of Lake Host[r]up that later turned into marshland and finally into a peat bog.

There are other etymological theories. The rest of the Geschichte der Familie Schlaikier is mostly about Hans von Schlaikier (1779-1843) who had a dozen children and served in the Danish army, hence the (quite temporary) ennoblement. Note how the family crest has a sheaf and sickle, making it clear that we were really peasants. The family history touches on the history of Schleswig-Holstein, and various members of the family came down on one side or the other.

Hans-Lorenz himself wrote a tome about our family, titled Die Schlaikiers: Eine Weltumspannende Familie (Schriften der Heimatkundlichen Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Nordschleswig, Jahrg. 2013, h. 88, S. 8-137). I also had an English translation made of this.

Below is a list of a few Schlaikjers, ordered somewhat by proximity to myself (Erich).

Most of the living persons can be contacted by email using an address like

Erich Erich Schlaikjer Self
reviews; travelogues; genealogy; Geocaching; politics; videos; music; links;
PatriciaPatricia McIntyrePatricia McIntyre, but you can still mail her at!
RossRoss Schlaikjergithub Jana Blog
GriffinGriffin SchlaikjerLinkedIn
ClaireClaire SchlaikjerArtist
LauraLaura SchlaikjerGGC
EliseElise SchlaikjerMorningstar Labyrinth
PaulPaul SchlaikjerLand Trust
SusanSusan Schlaikjer
CarlCarl Schlaikjerbattery chemist
AndrewAndrew SchlaikjerCarnegie Mellon page
KatieKatie SchlaikjerCellist with the Penderecki String Quartet
JayJay Schlaikjer(d. 2002)
LindaLinda Schlaikjer
TiaTia Schlaikjer
StephenStephen SchlaikjerChina expert; Salzburg seminar; Amazon
CarolCarol SchlaikjerBuy her music!
MarjorieMarjorie Schlaikjereditor
MatthewMatthew SchlaikjerAlrighters
AmenaAmena SchlaikjerHer website.
Actress/Model/manager/freelancer/licensed make-up artist
EricaErica SchlaikjerHer website.
MaleneMalene Schlaikjersignal processing scientist (now at Oticon); swimmer; mother
met her via the internet!
HansHans SchlaikierSurname Schlaikier. My fourth cousin once removed. Lives in ancestral city of Aabenraa(Åbenrå). Daughter Brigitte and son Hans Georg. He has a Schlaikier signet ring, sword and other cool stuff. Worked at Jebsen
Erich MErich M SchlaikjerGreat-uncle
dinosaur hunter
JesJes SchlaikjerGreat-uncle
TiaTia SchlaikjerDid the Appalachian Trail. More recent blog here.
Captain HansGrandfather of the Hans above (so my second cousin thrice removed). Wrote Aabenraa Søfarts Historie (1929), which Hans describes: "about seafarers from Aabenraa who did not return but stayed at sea as the expression is here. They went down with their ships etc."
ErichErich SchlaikierFirst cousin thrice removed. ?1867-1928 Writer.
WolframWolfram SchlaikierGreat-grandson of Erich the Writer (so my fourth cousin). Journalist
SharonSecond cousin once removed if her grandfather was my great-grandfather's brother. But he may not have been. Her genealogical website.
DennyDenny SchlaikjerThird cousin once removed. Blogger in Utah
Hans-PeterHans-Peter Schlaikier, actorFourth cousin once removed. Surname Schlaikier. Actor in Hamburg
LisaUnknown. Estate agent in Utah
StephanieStephanie SchlaikierUnknown. Surname Schlaikier. Australian kickboxer!
She is related to Dan and Mark Schlaikier, with whom I have been in touch. Mark is doing a lot of genealogical research, but how Schlaikiers got from Denmark to Australia remains an intriguing mystery.

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