Kradel is not a common surname. Before the internet opened up, I could have safely said that I was related to anyone and everyone with the last name of Kradel. Now, I’m not so sure. Probably, but not sure.
I once had a phone conversation with an Editor or an Assistant at a small publishing house in New York City who called me not because she had a job opening – I had sent in a blind resume – but because her last name was Kradel. Her family came from Russia, was Jewish, and she grew up in Brooklyn. She knew that her last name was shortened during the family’s immigration process from something like Kradelovich or Krakalovich to Kradel. She didn’t know of any other Kradels and just had to call me after she picked her jaw up off of the floor after she had seen my last name on the resume. She invited me to lunch, but I never made an effort to meet up with her, and am a little sorry now that I didn’t. But during that phone conversation I did tell her a little bit about us. Enough to know that we probably, almost certainly, weren’t related. Unless of course our family really is Jewish and Russian instead of Lutheran and Prussian/German … hmmmm …
During my recent chases through history, I found something interesting about the surname Kradel. There are at least three versions of the name: Kradel, Credel, Grädel. Which may explain why we are having such a hard time getting beyond George and Barbara Kradel – with no dates, but realistically born around 1780 – in Prussia/Germany.
I found one website that puts both surnames Kradel and Grädel in the mid-late 1700s in Königsberg, which was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945. It was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946, after the death of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Mikhail Kalinin, one of the original Bolsheviks. The city then became the western most frontier town of Russia. The old city of Königsberg was almost completely destroyed during WWII. Which makes me wonder if any town records survived?
But still, I’m not sure if this is a lead to where the Kradels came from in Germany. At this point it’s only an uneducated guess.
Stay tuned …
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