This old German surname was originally topographic and described a person who lived in a hollow or valley, or who was an inhabitant of one of the many small places in Germany so named. However in late medieval times the meaning was altered by folk etymological association with the High German "Kuhl" which literally meant "cold" and by transmogrification came to mean "ice" and therefore a supplier of ice. The original spelling form was Kuhlmeier - "the ice farmer". The name is well recorded through Germany and has several spelling variants including Kuhlmeier, Kuhlmayer, Kuhlmay, Kuhlmey, Kuhlmeir, and Kulhmejer. The Coat of Arms being a gold and red field charged with a blue bend. The early recordings include Aberlin Kuhl in the year 1415 at Brakenheim, whilst the developed suffix forms include Caspar Kuhlmey, a witness at Solingen Evangelist Church, Rheinland on October 10th 1767 and Frederick Kuhlmey who married Emilie Pauline Seiler at Frankfort Am Oder Stadt, Brandenburg on February 19th 1837 (Military Records). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johan Fritz Kuhlmejer, which was dated September 9th 1670 who was christened at Reelkirchen, Lippe, Deutschland, during the reign of Emperor Leopold 1, of the German Empire, 1658 - 1705. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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