Trump Family - Swedish or German ?

Trump-arctic-hotel-white horseThe Trump surname is totally in the 2016 news, but what heritage or origin is that surname? As it turns out, Donald Trump’s ancestors and the family’s original home was located at Freinsheimer Strasse 20 in Kallstadt, a small, wine-producing village in the south-western part of Germany, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Donald Trump’s grandfather lived there before he emigrated from Germany to the United States. In fact, the family of the founder of the ketchup dynasty Heinz also came from that same village.

The Trump surname was originally Drumpf, and started in 1608 with Hanna / Hans Drumpf who had come to the wine producing Kallstadt region in Germany to start is his own wine manufacturing. During the Thirty Years War, this village was burned numerous times by the time the war was over in 1648. A descendant of Hanna Drumpf, John Philip Drumpf / Trump, who was a major wine grower in the region changed his surname to Trump during the Thirty Years’ War.


It was a young Friedrich Trump, born in Kallstadt in 1869, trained as a barber, who left Germany in 1885 to seek his fortune in the United States and to avoid the military service requested of young Germans in the 1880s. He was able to do that by 1891 by saving his money while working as a barber in New York City. With that money he established boom-town hotels and restaurants in the northwest corner of the United States, in Alaska and parts of Canada. Friedrich, changed his given name to Fredrick when he became a US citizen in 1892.

In May 1898 in a mining boom town in Canada, Trump opened the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel, which offered fine dining and lodging in a sea of tents. Th Arctic Restaurant expanded, was open 24-hours a day and became one of the largest and most decadent restaurants in that region of the Klondike. By 1900 he established the White Horse Restaurant and Inn in Whitehorse in the Yukon. Problems with his partner in early 1901, forced Trump to sell his business share to his partner.

With his wealth Fredrick choose to return to Germany in 1901 and his hometown to find a bride. He married Elizabeth Christ in August 1902 and they moved to New York City. Elizabeth was homesick, so they returned to Germany by late 1904. They both wanted to remain in their hometown in Germany, but the German authorities viewed Frederick as an American not German. They claimed he had forfeited his German citizenship by emigrating. The family returned to New York by June 1905.

Trump-Elisabeth_Christ_&_Friedrich_TrumpThe couple had three children born in New York; Elizabeth in 1904, Fred C. in October 1905 and John in 1907. Most of the years after his marriage, Frederick operated a barber shop. He also purchased property and real estate.

Due to the widespread hatred of Germans in America during the World War One period, Frederick kept a low-profile, not letting people know he was born in Germany.

During 1917 and into 1919 there was a major wide-spread outbreak of the deadly Spanish Flu (pneumonia). Frederick Trump, the immigrant, who made his fortune, died suddenly on March 30, 1918 of Spanish Flu. His property and holdings were valued at over half a million in today’s values. It was his widow, Elizabeth and son, Fred C. Trump who then managed the family property, expanding their fortunes.

Trump-Fred c.Mother and son did very well with their investments over the decades. Slowly, Fred C. Trump would refer to his family lineage as coming from Sweden rather than Germany. This was especially true during World War 2 when America was fighting Germany. Fred married Mary Anne MacLeod in 1936, who was born in Scotland, very poor and had immigrated in 1930 to America where she met Fred Trump later while working as a domestic servant.

The couple had five children; three born before Donald John Trump’s birth on June 14, 1946. On Donald Trump’s birth certificate which was signed in 1946 by New York City Mayor William O’Dwyer, it states he was born in Jamaica Hospital in Queens, New York. Fred C. Trump died of Alzheimer’s Disease and pneumonia in June 1999 and Mary M. Trump died in 2000.

Even Donald J. Trump thought for years the family heritage was Swedish, but by the late 1980s and into the 1990s, enough genealogical proof was provided that he acknowledged the family on his father’s side originated in Kallstadt, Germany. His mother immigrated to America from Scotland.

Photos: Arctic Hotel & Restaurant next to the White Horse; 1901 AD for Arctic Hotel; Frederick and Elizabeth Trump (grandparents of Donald Trump); and Fred C. Trump (father of Donald Trump).

Related genealogy blogs:

Your Surname and Heritage

German Immigrants

German Roots


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