Recorded in a number of spellings including Blei, Bley, Bly, Bleier, Bleibaum, Bleibohm, Bleiben, Pley and Pleger, and the apparently 'English' spelling of Bliben, this is a surname of Germanic origins. It appears to be one of the 17th century 'ornamental' names for which the country is famous. These were names given to mainly immigrants from other lands. They were designed to be both in accord with nature, and yet at the sametime different from the usual popular German surnames many of which had pre 5th century pagan origins. This surname appears to translate as 'lead tree' from the Old German 'blei baum.' Blei is the prefix of many German names such as Bleibler, Bleibso, and Bleiballhier, whilst Blei itself and Bleier are both occupational and describe a lead manufacturer or a skilled lead worker. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving rolls and registers from the medieval times include Johannes Bley of Greifwald in 1306, Seihich Blobaum of Tengarn, Westfalen, in 1682, and Johann Jacob Bleiben of Wengern, Westfalen, on September 15th 1822 when he married Carolina Hann.
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